tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 20, 2012 8:00pm-1:00am EDT
the work on the committee. but that's why we need to remove 206. that provision actually takes away the health and safety as e.p.a.'s primary responsibility. that was what it was created for in 1970. we already have a system that will work. the deal -- to deal with economic problems. we go to o.m.b. but even more so we can get to -- go to the states. because once e.p.a. and o.m.b. approves that rule, then they go to the states to work out the compliance mechanism and in our district, where i have a huge industrial capacity, we actually work with our state agency and e.p.a. to make sure we can economically do that within a time frame. that's why this amendment should be accepted, mr. chairman, and i would encourage members to vote for this amendment when it comes up for a vote tomorrow and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. . .
mr. green: i ask for a roll call vote. the chair: further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 10 printed in house report 112-540. for what purpose does the gentleman from nebraska seek recognition? mr. terry: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 10 printed in house report 112-540 offered by mr. terry of nebraska. the chair: the gentleman from nebraska, mr. terry and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from nebraska for five minutes. mr. terry: thank you, mr. chairman. and my amendment is a rather simple one and i hope all of my colleagues can support it. many of us can remember the
devastation brought on by the hurricanes, katrina and rita but folks remember the rise in gas prices and the threat of having no gas at all. when supplies are interrupted, it is critical to restore fuel for consumers as soon as possible. we continue to operate within a environment where the requirements set by the e.p.a. in another market, the fuel in chicago may be different from the fuel in st. louis, especially in the summertime. the supplies of fuel are disrupted, whether from a national emergency or a simple equipment market can adversely consumers. when they run out of gas, our constituents suffer. when there is a shortage, the
constituents suffer. not ever supply disruption is covered in in this. the administrator has the authority to serve the best interests of our consumers when fuel prices are effected. further asking these consumers to wait a prolonged period of time before shoe a ruling to restore supplies. time is of the essence when we are trying to avert these fuel shortages and price spikes. it is important that the decisions regarding the economic welfare of our constituents are made in a timely manner. the underlying bill that we have here before us is about doing what we can to keep the prices
as low as we can. this amendment would broaden the times where e.p.a. can grant a waiver to an area to use whatever fuel they have on hand when there is a disruption. right now, the authority only exists for natural disasters and other larger emergencies. not all disruptions are covered. this amendment expands upon the waiver to include any disruption. because we have refineries closing in the northeast and we have a limited ability to move product dune to jones act requirements, any fuel region should never be in a position of doing without fuel. the second part of my amendment calls for the d.o.e. to conduct a study that impacts 0-5 that directs them to complete by june, 2008 and we are in 2012
and we don't have the study. we want the study completed. and at this point, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. waxman: i rise in opposition and claim the time in opposition to this amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. waxman: this amendment would change the law, the clean air act, that hors authorizes e.p.a. to waive requirements for fuels where there is an extreme and unusual fuel circumstance. while we want the ability to waive that law and -- e.p.a. has the ability to do that. but the terry amendment provides that if e.p.a. does president act within three days, it's automatically granted and that's not enough time for e.p.a. to act.
requests for a waiver is often incomplete. they haven't come up with the information and may not specify the area that may be covered or what parameters are waved. the e.p.a. would have to choose between two bad options. they could reject the waiver and then perhaps approve a revised it later when they get the necessary information. fuel suppliers are going to be confused and may be concern that e.p.a. won't address the situation where they need some rule or e.p.a. could allow a confusing waiver request to become effective. and again, this would leave fuel suppliers confused and uncertain about what they have to do. since the waiver would become effective automatically, how would fuel suppliers even find out what had gone into effect? it is unclear what constitutes a
waiver request. there is a lot of confusion in this proposal. i don't know why existing law should be changed if there has been a problem. we haven't heard any testimony on this. we haven't had any hearings on this in our committee. requiring laws and regulations to be waved based on incomplete information and for long periods of time is simply bad policy. regulations are adopted through a public process which allows all parties to parent and all relevant information to be considered. without limits, waivers could rewrite regulations without public input. the clean air act provisions that were adopted are narrowly crafted. i have a lot of misgivings about this policy. we haven't had any testimony on it. it could lead to some very bad
results and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from nebraska. mr. terry: i appreciate the gentleman's remarks, but it's really not as draconian a measure as it may appear from his comments. when a waiver is requested, it is usually by a government entity for a region usually with governors and there still has to be a disruption. if there is a disruption to the point where a government entity has to request a waiver tr the requirement for the summer fuel for that particular region, that disruption is going to be well known and well documented and won't take them more than three days to do it unless they are intentionally dragging their feet. three days is sufficient. and if they refuse to act on that within that certain period of time, it is appropriate that
they are able to keep the blend with the supply that they would have. so this is really a simple request, a simple amendment to make sure that price spikes don't occur, that time is of the necessity and i reserve unless the gentleman wants to yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. waxman: a waiver request does not have to come from a public entity but can come from elsewhere as well. i yield the balance of my time to mr. markey, the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. markey: this is just another example of congress knows best. it's the republican solution to everything. let's not let the agency, professionals do their jobs on a case-by-case basis but a one-size fits all, three-day shot clock on a request that could have significant impact environmentally in an area.
and by the way, if the agency is not ready, they might reject it on day two because there isn't enough information, rather than an orderly process for all the agencies to be able to determine in a conversation with perhaps a government entity, or perhaps not, all of the details of what the i will apply occasions -- implications should be. there is no shot clock of what you want to put on the department of interior having to approve drilling on onshore or offshore lands in our country. this is part of the republican agenda to ensure that the hands of the government are actually tied in protecting the health and environment of our country. and what the gentleman from nebraska is doing is part and parcel of a systemic approach to
undermine the ability of those agencies that are tasked with the job of protecting the health, of protecting the environment are of protecting the safety of individual citizens to have handcuffs put on them so they can't discharge their responsibility. i urge a no vote on the terry amendment. and i yield back to the gentleman from california. mr. waxman: if we have time, we reserve it. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from nebraska. mr. terry: reserve. the chair: the gentleman from california. all members have one minute remaining. mr. terry: you said reserve. i'm going to close. mr. waxman: i yield back. mr. terry: i think the rhetoric far exceeds the facts here. this is a simple amendment just to say when there's a disruption, instead of waiting around when we know there's a problem, let's take care of the problem, allow the available
fuel to be used so there aren't price spikes that hurt people. so, yield back and ask -- i ask that my colleagues support this amendment. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from nebraska. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 11 printed in house report 112-540. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? mr. rush: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 11 printed in house report 112-540 offered by mr. rush of illinois. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 6 1, the gentleman from illinois, mr. rush and a gentleman opposed each will control five minutes.
the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. rush: while gas prices have subsided over the past few months, americans are still very concerned about the issue of jobs and high unemployment. in my district and in the african-american community in general, joblessness is far higher than the national average with some communities experiencing unemployment rates up to 16%. yet, even with these staggering figures, we are hearing today the bringing of a bill that would do absolutely nothing to address this critical issue that the american people are facing.
nada. zero. zero will it do. mr. speaker, the house will only be in session a little over 20 more days before we recess in august. and after that, this house will barely be in session until after the november election. during this limited time, we should be focusing our attention on legislation that will create jobs and move america forward towards a smarter energy future that is less vulnerable to the whims of the world's oil market.
however, there is nothing in this bill, in h.r. 4480, that would do anything to address the issues most important to the american people. neither jobs nor gas prices are dealt with in this bill. mr. speaker, my amendment, the amendment i'm offering today, gets right to the heart of the matter and simply states, the administrator of the energy information administration should make a determination as to whether implementation of this act is predicted to lower
gasoline prices or create jobs within the united states within a period of 10 years. that's what my amendment says clearly, simply, concisely. however, if the administration -- administrator of the e.i.a. determines that implementation of this act is not projected to lower prices or create jobs in 10 years, then the most egregious provision of this bill , section 205 and 206, would attempt existing clean air act protections would cease to be in effect. mr. speaker, this uses higher
employment and fluctuating gas prices as a radios to once again -- roose to once again attack the e.p.a. and the clean air act without doing a single thing to actually reduce the costs that americans are paying at the pump or to deliver more jobs to the american people. mr. speaker, comments should not remove long standing clean air act requirements for e.p.a. to set ambient air quality standards at the level necessary to protect human health. nor should the majority attempt to block and delay several e.p.a. air quality and public health provisions under the guise of -- on e.p.a. will
actually create jobs or reduce gas prices. time and time again over the past year and a half this congress under the majority party's leadership has voted to roll back provisions of the clean air act. mr. speaker, i urge all of my colleagues to vote for the rush amendment and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? mr. gardner: thank you, mr. chairman. seek recognition in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. chairman. want to tell a little bit of a story. i grew up, live in a very small town on the eastern plains of colorado. there's about 3,000 people that live in this small town and when i was growing up there was a couple, a mother-daughter that lived across the street from wriffs growing up in a little home. and they had an older car and in this small town the grocery stores, gosh, can't be more than four blocks away, but when they
went to the grocery store they walked. and as the years went by and the mother got older they still walked to the grocery store. in the winter a lot of times they walked. in the summer they walked. and i remember asking them one time, you know, they have a car, how come they're not driving? just four blocks away. and as she got older and more difficult to walk, her response was, because we can't afford the gas. that's four blocks of driving. can't use much gasoline. but the fact is thprice of gas mattered to that family. made the difference of getting groceries, putting food on the table. we talk about people's ability to afford health care. if you're left with the option of getting to work or buying health care insurance, what are
you going to do? what choice are you going to make? by making sure that we have abundant affordable energy we're making sure that families can make ends meet easier. that they can make those choices to go see the doctor when they need to. because high prices of energy certainly impact the ability of families to lift themselves out of poverty, to make sure that they are improving their own lives. your amendment would stop the look that we are asking to take at what regulations do when it comes to the price of gasoline when it comes to the price of energy. nothing in this bill prevents the e.p.a. from developing rules on their current schedule. but it does say we need to understand the impact that they are going to have on the price of gasoline. because i bet those neighbors of mine are very interested in what government is doing to increase the cost of them getting to the grocery store or not. and maybe they could drive when
it's cold outside. mr. rush: will the gentleman yield? mr. gardner: i'd be happy to yield. mr. rush: i am so glad you used the story and told the story of that neighbor. because your neighbor is not like my neighbors. they're suffering from unemployment, they're suffering from high gas prices. but what confuses me and what's got me astounded is the fact that in this bill your neighbor, her problems, my neighbor's problems, the problems of all the members of this body, all of our neighbors' problem, our problems, all i'm asking for is that if the e.i.a., an agency that is respected, if they determine after looking at this
bill and saying that this bill will not create one job, this bill doesn't address rising gasoline -- mr. gardner: mr. chairman, if i could reclaim my time so i have the ability to close on the amendment. mr. rush: certainly. i just don't see -- mr. gardner: thank you. i appreciate my colleague's debate on this. but again, this issue is not about stopping or blocking the e.p.a. from doing it. because they're fully able to develop rules on their current schedule. nothing prevents them from protecting the public health and the environment as the law requires them to do. nothing. and so your amendment, though, it -- when you talk about rules affecting gas prices should be delayed until the rule is reported, those thank could reduce gas prices. allowing every single member of this committee to circumvent the analysis would defeat the purpose of the act. and so gas prices impact as we know all parts of our economy. and we need to have multiple
experts. but the e.i.a. which your amendment deals with doesn't have the expertise in international competitiveness, they don't have the expertise in job impacts or agriculture health benefits analysis and i think we have just got to be at the point where we let the american people know what's happening to the price of gasoline because of these regulations. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from illinois. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the be of the chair, the noes have -- in the opinion of the chair, the noes have. it the gentleman from illinois. mr. rush: i ask for a roll call vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from illinois will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 12 printed in house report 112-540. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? mr. holt: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 12
prohibited in house report 112-540 offered by mr. holt of new jersey. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 691, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. holt, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: thank you, mr. chairman. the bill before us tonight would elevate energy production above all other uses of public lands in really contradiction of the principles of multiple use under the federal land management and policy act. this would be to the dert meant of grazing, hunting, fishing and other recreation activities. yet the plan envisioned by the majority's bill does not even require that the interior department consider the tens of millions of acres of public lands that oil companies are just sitting on and not using. right now oil companies have roughly 25 million acres of public land onshore on which they are not producing. even worse, oil companies are not even beginning drilling activities on the vast majority
of these nonproducing areas. in fact, last month the interior department released a new report which found that oil companies have nearly 21 million acres onshore, under lease, on which they have not even begun conducting exploration activities. well over half of the public lands oil companies have underleased onshore are idle. they are warehousing these leases. they are sitting on these leases. my amendment would require that the secretary reduce the number of nonproducing leases as part of the plan for energy development on public lands that would be established under the underlying bill. before we risk disrupting additional public lands, let's begin by getting the oil and gas industry to use the leases they have. it's simple. no seconds while your plate is still full. it's the height of cynicism that the industry would be squating
on these leases at the same time it is asking us to give them more land that belongs to the americans. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? mr. hastings: mr. chairman, i rise to claim time in opposition to this amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. hastings: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, we've heard this argument and this debate and this issue before. this is nothing but a recycled version of the old use it or lose it argument that we have heard so many times. but this time it's disguised at reduced non-producing leases. this amendment is based on a completely unsubstantiated premise which is that oil companies are sitting on oil and gas leases, therefore rendering them knacktific, at least that's how the claim goes, if they are not diligently drilling for and
producing oil. this is important, mr. chairman. use it and lose it is already the law of the land. why? because every lease on federal land currently includes a development language requiring moving forward by the energy companies, if the company does not produce within those lease terms, then their lease reverts back to the government. picture this. a company is paying money for a lease. and then there are certain conditions in this lease for them to produce. in a time period. if they don't produce in that time period, reverse -- very verts back to the government is that not use it or lose it? that's the law of the land as is part of the lease sale. so, just because a lease sale is not actively producing, that doesn't mean that there's not work on that lease sale. leases cannot held for up to seven or 10 years for studies or
permitting or even lawsuits so -- lawsuits. in addition, it isn't possible to drill every lease at the same time. think of leases like home building. a homebuilder doesn't start every building at the same time. you have roofers, you have framers, you have plumbers, you have dry walls, you have electricians all working at different times, different parts of the house. oil and natural gas is the same way. you have geologists, drillers, production, permitting, environmental studies, all those things happen in different steps. so the argument that lose it -- use it or lose it, which is already in place, is something that we should even be debating here is nonsensical. it ignores the realities of oil and gas. the years of exploring, of drilling and permitting that it takes to bring something to the floor. not only has the use it and lose it argument failed many times when it's been brought to the floor of this house, but in the
house natural resources committee on legislation dealing with this, it lost on a bipartisan vote. and frankly, mr. chairman, i suspect if there's a vote called on this it too will lose on a bipartisan vote. so it to encourage -- so to encourage that i would urge my colleagues to reject this amendment and i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: mr. chairman, may i ask the time remaining on this amendment? the chair: three minutes. mr. holt: i'd be pleased to yield 2 1/2 minutes to the co-author of this amendment, the ranking member, mr. markey. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. markey: i thank the gentleman. i have a suggestion to succinctly tell the whole story about the tens of millions of acres that oil companies are allowing to sit idle. fox should create a new tv show for the oil companies holding all these idle wells and it could be called "american idle"
with exxon and chevron and b.p. and all those companies as the contestants and every week the oil companies can come and sing their sad tune about needing more taxpayer-owned land to drill, even as their lease blocks are left lonely for years at a time and they don't drill at all. exxonmobil and b.p. could sing songs like not taking care of business or "sitting on a block in the bay" where the refrain sung by the oil company executives would of course be, wasting time. and simon cowell could come back to the show he created so we can all watch as he mocks these companies for their subpar drilling performance and of course in typical fashion for the oil industry, they'll still demand to be advanced to the next round of leasing, even though they're doing nothing. and by the way, in this bill the republicans actually have a provision that if the president, because iran attacked us, deployed 10% of the strategic
petroleum reserve, that we the american people would then have to lease 200 million acres, an area the size of texas, to the oil companies to drill because the president deployed the strategic petroleum reserve, even though the oil companies already have an area the size of kentucky. . so this whole "american idle" plays into the republican plan because the oil companies pay $1.50 per acre not to drill while at the same time saying they are being discriminated against now that the president has the highest area of oil production which the republicans have a hard time to come to the floor and admit. vote for the holt amendment.
and we will get back to work and to the idle ways which is hurting the country. mr. hastings: can i inquire how much time is remaining? the chair: two minutes remaining. mr. hastings: i reserve. holt holt mr. chairman, let me just repeat, the oil companies have 25 million acres of public land onshore on which they are not producing. they have 21 million acres of public onshore under lease which they aren't even conducting exploration activity. i rest my case. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: the nature of the lease sales that companies enter
into are use it or lose it because if they don't within the time period of the lease utilize that for production, they give it back. that's use it or lose it. that's the law right now. but let me respond here in the short time i have about comments that have been made earlier about increased american production. that's true, mr. chairman. and i'm glad for that. but the implication of that statement being made by our friends on the other side of the aisle is that because of the policies of this administration, mr. chairman, nothing could be further from the truth. it takes a while to get land or offshore up to speed and in production, sometimes many years , but the reason production is increasing in some areas and has been increasing, is now going down in federal lands, is because of actions of prior administrations.
that is never said it's because of prior administrations' actions, because the last two years of this administration, oil and natural gas, the production has gone down. and finally, the main reason, while oil production has increased in this country is because feas happening principally in north dakota and west texas and on private land and state land. the federal government and this administration had absolutely nothing to do with the increase of that production. as a matter of fact, there are probably some efforts to try to slow that down. but at any rate, i had had to make that point. this amendment has been around for some time and will probably fail on a bipartisan basis and i yield back. the chair: the the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey. those in favor say aye.
those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. holt: i ask for a roll call vote. the chair: the gentleman asks for a roll call vote, pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 13 printed in house report 112-540. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? mr. connolly: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 13 printed in house report 112-540 offered by mr. connolly of virginia. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 691, the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly and a member opposed each will control five minutes. mr. connolly: i offer this amendment on behalf of my colleague, mr. lewis. i would like everyone to refer
to their pocket constitutions, page 21. they will find the first amendment which reads, and i quote, congress shall make no laws respecting and establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of press or the right of people to peacefully assemble or people to reredress grievances. when the constitution was read allowed, a bipartisan exercise, i don't recall there being an astersk unless the constitution stands in the way of big oil. yet the language in this bill creates a $5,000 protest fee for any american citizen to challenge the granting of a lease, right-of--way or permit.
that is bridging the freedom of speech and the petition of government. the republicans in the house are happy to rush by the public. this is a task at best on the right to protest the right of government that someone believes might harm the government. not surprisingly, the bill does not apply a similar protest fee who could protest the denial. one wonders why? would that be a tax on industry inment the burro of land management objected to this citing as an economic barrier for the public to seek redress of an agency decision. i agree with that statement but it doesn't go far enough and doesn't capture the full
ramifications and would trample on the first amendment rights of the public, so much for the other side's commitment for being strict scrict nists. and i yield to mr. markey for the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. markey: at this point, i would like to reserve. charet the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. -- the chair:. the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? mr. hastings: i seek time in opposition to this amendment. i yield such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: i want to clarify something. absolutely nothing in this legislation or this entire legislation takes away the right
of people to protest or petition a redress of grievances. that is something that is held say credit by all americans. during the oil and natural gas development process, flr over a dozen opportunities for citizens to protest, comment or completely halt energy development on public land. since the 1990's, however, the use of protests on federal lands has increased by 700% through a concerted effort by special interest groups to halt oil and natural gas development on our public land. this explosion of protests has crippled the b.l.m. offices while they are working to handle the wave of new protests. a formal protest is a legitimate step in natural gas leasing process. however, and this is something that most people recognize, the
abuse of protests to halt that development is something that needs to be addressed. so the 5,000 protest fee in this legislation goes directly to helping the b.l.m. process through the onslaught they are currently being paid by taxpayer dollars. it doesn't take away anyone's right to protest nor does it interfear with the 15 ways to participate. this provision, as a matter of fact, will ensure that taxpayer dollars going through the normal process are spent protecting the environment and not tied up in paperwork related to endless protests filed by special protests with an agenda that one has to conclude is stopping oil and natural gas leasing.
i want to mention, too, mr. chairman, this amendment was also offered in the natural resources committee on the legislation. and it, too, was defeated on a bipartisan basis. and i suspect this is brought to the floor and will be beaten on a bipartisan basis. i urge rejection of this amendment and i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. connolly: how much time remains? the chair: 2 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. connolly: i yield the remaining time to mr. markey of massachusetts. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. markey: this provision reminds me of the french author once said, he said the law in its equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges and to steal bread. yes, under the bills, petroleum
protests, poll tax, the rich as well the poor are charged $5,000 as a fee to protest an oil company drilling plan that could jind mine the environment of the safety or a view of a particular individual. but the law is clearly targeted against the poor. so if you are one of the superrich, like mitt romney, having to pay $5,000 fee to protest is nothing. it's less than half of what you offer up when when you make a friendly bet with a friend. or the koch brothers or stop a project of blocking your view out on the ocean, that's a small price to pay to be able to undermine a project that you are not happy with. but for everyone else this is a basic discrimination, this $5,000 fee isn't a toll booth on
the highway to justice but a brick wall. you know, by contrast, the united states supreme court, the highest court in the land charges $300 to appeal a case. for an american citizen earning minimum wage it would take four months in order to pay this protest fee which the republicans want to put on the books. so ordinary people, they are going to have to pay up now if they want to protest and the environmental justice that has been denied poor people in our country over the last several generations just continues under this. this is what it's all about, environmental justice and you are imposing a poll tax, an environmental poll tax, a polluters' poll tax, a petroleum poll tax on ordinary families and it's just wrong,
unnecessary, but oh, so obvious, in what the agenda is. not to block the koch brothers but rather the ordinary citizen having their day in court. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of my time. i want to point out with this poster behind me and i know one can't read all of the details here, but this is the process by which somebody goes through a lease process to try to develop some activity on federal lands. this is the process that they go through, which, of course, is pretty long. now, i mentioned in my opening remarks, that there are 15 different ways there can be a protest made or your voices heard or whatever in that whole lease process. on the back of me on this chart,
that is denoted by the red dots, and you can see all the way along starting way over to my far right where right at the start, there are places you can have input and that continues throughout all the way to virtually the end. when you have a lot of process like this -- and i will say it -- in many cases, some of these red dots are used for frivolous purposes. well, it would seem to be a way to mitigate so the government can do their job and work under the law for those who are trying to lease public land. the fee goes to the agency that processes this. that means you can ensure that you will have a process that is fair and open. nothing is taken away. there are no red dots taken away whatsoever.
we are simply saying there has to be a means in which we finance this process. i think this is a way to do it. so i would urge rejection of this amendment. as i mentioned, it had been rejected several times before and rejected in committee and i hope it is rejected on the house floor and i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the gentleman from virginia. mr. connolly: on behalf of myself and mr. lewis, i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: a recorded vote is requested. pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 14. for what purpose does the gentleman from nevada seek recognition? .
. the clerk: offered by mr. amodei of nevada. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 691, the gentleman from nevada, mr. amodei, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from nevada. mr. amodei: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for recognizing me on this amendment, on this important piece of legislation. the domestic energy and jobs act, in addition to developing our abundant oil and natural gas reserves, is also important for purposes of recognizing another part of the energy sector. and that is our mineral resources. an often forgotten component of america's economic engine and advantage over other nations is our mineral and coal production. minerals and mine materials are the raw ingredients needed by every sector of our economy. this amendment is simple. it would prohibit the secretary of interior from moving any aspect of the solid minerals program administered by the bureau of land management and merging it with the office of surface mining reclamation and enforcement, the o.s.m. this amendment is necessary
because currently the administration continues to proceed with plans to combine these two entities, despite the fact that it has met with heavy bipartisan resistance and also resist frens stakeholders including, yes, even environmental groups. last year secretary salazar announced his intent to combine the o.s.m. and a portion of b.o.m.'s solid minerals program through a secretarial order. appears to be in voge these days -- vogue these days. the problem missing here is resort to congress. previous administrations have looked at this and have concluded in the record that congressional action is needed to do this. so here we are trying to forestall yet another secretarial or executive order that flies in the face of congressional authority. in march of this year the department of the interior indicated a desire to continue to evaluate this. this will result in unnecessary cost to taxpayers as its duplicative. it flies in the face of previous administrations, but more importantly o.s.m. should not have responsibility for leasing
federal coal. under the surface mining control and reclamation act passed by this house, states are responsible for permitting and the regulation of coal mining and abandon mine land cleanup. additionally, surface mining and control reclamation act prohibits the co-mingling of employees of any federal agency that promotes the development or use of coal, responsibility of the solid minerals division of the b.l.m. it's a clear conflict of interest. finally o.s.m. disease not have offices in all federal western states and hardrock mining does not fall under their jurisdiction. nor does it have any experience in the broad range of mineral commodities regulated by the b.o. -- b.l.m. i ask for the chamber's support of this amendment would thank would stop the department of interior from merging the operations of these groups. i ask for your consideration and i would like to yield to the chairman of the natural resources committee. mr. hastings: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i think you have a very good amendment and i support that amendment and i thank the
gentleman for bringing it to the floor and i yield back to him. mr. amodei: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. who seeks time in opposition? mr. markey: i claim time in opposition to this amendment. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for five minutes. mr. markey: thank you, mr. chairman, very much. we know that the republican majority thinks current law governing hardrock mining in this country is about as close to perfect as they can get. and we know that international mining giants like barrett gold andryow tinto agree with our republican colleagues. the status quo is really ideal from their perspective. that is because the status quo allows these multinational companies to mine billions of dollars worth of gold, silver and other minerals on federal lands without paying a dime in loyalties -- royalties. what's not to like if you're a multinational offshore company coming into our country? the law allowing this disgraceful windfall was signed
by ulices s. grant in 1872 and there it sits, immune from change, immune from improvement or update for 140 years. what we did not realize was just how far this majority will go to make sure even the smallest corner of the current setup is never, ever changed. the administration has announced plans to consider whether merging some of the functions of the offices and the bureau might lead to efficiency and save the american taxpayers some money. the jury is still out on that idea. but we must ensure that we can continue to exercise proper oversight of mining activities on public lands and ensure that american taxpayers and states can continue to receive a proper return on these minerals. a february report to secretary salazar recommended that the two
agencies stay largely independent of each other. the merger plans have yet to be developed or announced and would likely be limited to money-saving ideas like combining human resource divisions, employee training programs and fleet management operations. this streamlining could reportedly save as much as $5 million annually of taxpayers' money. something that the g.s.a. perhaps could take as a lesson as to how they should operate. that's the at the very least -- at the very least the administration deserves the time to fully develop and present a plan that can be debated on its merits. but this amendment says no, this amendment would specifically prohibit the administration from even considering whether aspects of this idea have merit and would save the taxpayers money. which is the goal of the amendment. of the plan that the department of interior is considering. not only do our republican
colleagues reject any and all efforts to bring the federal mining law into the 21st century or -- i would even think the 20th century for that matter, but they bristle at the very idea of thinking about ways to better organize the agencies overseeing mining on federal lands. we should let the administration do its job. we should also get serious about ending royalty-free mining on public lands. this amendment really misses the point entirely. we need to be more efficient, we have to save the taxpayers money and we have to make sure that these multinationals pay more to mine the minerals of the american people. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from nevada. mr. amodei: thank you, mr. chairman. how much time do i have left? the chair: the gentleman has two minutes remaining. mr. amodei: i yield to the gentleman from the buckeye state. the chair: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for two
minutes. >> mr. chairman, today i rise in support of the amodei amendment that would ensure the secretary of interior does not combine the two agencies, with competing missio into the same agency. last year, late last year the secretary of the interior tried to merge the office of surface mining and to -- into the bureau of land management. after spending months of time and valuable taxpayer dollars to look at the issue and holding multiple public meetings with the secretary of the interior realized two things. first, he realized that he didn't have the power to merge the two agencies and secondly he realized that it was simply a bad idea. now there are reports that the secretary is looking at taking portions of bureau of land management and moving them on to the purview of the office of surface mining. the two facts that i just mentioned still hold true today. the secretary doesn't have the power without it first being authorized by congress. and both agencies have competing missions. it simply doesn't make sense to
combine the two agencies. during the markup in natural resources earlier this year, you offered an amendment similar simpson to this that stopped the secretary of the interior from combining both agencies and it passed on a voice vote. i would hope that this amendment passes by a similar fashion. i am all for streamlining, overlapping government functions and cutting wasteful government spending but in this case there's no wasteful spending and for that reason i urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. the gentleman has 1 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. markey: how much is remaining on the majority? the chair: the gentleman from nevada has 30 seconds remaining. mr. markey: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from nevada. mr. amodei: i reserve, mr. chairman. the chair: does the gentleman yield back his time? mr. amodei: mr. chairman, i
would just say this. the goal of the amendment is to keep from picking up the newspaper in the morning and reading about a secretarial or executive order that has combined two agencies that the record is replete with evidence that the executive branch and the secretary does not have the authority to. so when we talk about oversight and the proper thing to do in these instances, and when we talk about debated on its merits as my colleague from the bay state has indicated, love to do that. that requires that congress act. not the secretary of the interior and not the president of the united states. thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from nevada. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. amodei: mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman from nevada. mr. amodei: thank you. on that last question i would ask that we have a recorded vote. the chair: a recorded vote is requested. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18,
further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from nevada would be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 15 printed in the house report 112-540. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? mr. markey: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk and i rise to claim the time in order to defend it. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 15 printed in house report 11-540 offered by mr. markey of massachusetts. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 691, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. markey, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. markey: thank you. i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. markey: mr. chairman, this amendment is quite simple. it prohibits the export of oil and natural gas produced from leases on the public lands of
the united states that are going to be authorized under this bill. america's number one export last year was american fuel. number one. no other product that we export more of last year than the fuel that is produced here in the united states. more than 100 -- $100 billion in american-made fuels was sent overseas to china, to morocco, to singapore and other countries. this infuriates americans pulling up to the purn and paying more than -- pump and paying more than $3.50 a gallon to fill up. and not only do oil companies want to continue exporting american fuel, but they are now talking about lifting restrictions on exporting america's crude oil as domestic production continues to increase. just this week the president of the american petroleum institute announced that exporting america's crude oil should be a
serious consideration. let me say that again. big oil is now stating publicly in no uncertain terms that they want to be able to export crude oil produced in the united states. now, earlier the majority whip said that this bill will make us energy independent. well, without the markey amendment there is no way that an oil company just won't export the fuel and the natural gas and now the head of the american petroleum institute says big oil also wants to start exporting america's crude oil as well. as american men and women are on the ground in the middle east fighting and dying to protect oil supply lines coming from the middle east into the united states, big oil wants to export oil produced here in america to
china. to other countries around the world. that is truly frightening. and it's wrong, ladies and gentlemen. wrong in terms of our relationship with the young men and women who fight for us, who defend us around the world. big oil is beholden to shareholder interests only. they do not care about american national security and they certainly don't like americans to enjoy low energy prices which is what's happening right now with natural gas. they want a bigger cut. they want to create a global, national gas market and a global price just like they have for oil. that's the plan. . and companies are lining up at the department of energy right now to get permits to export american natural gas. 15 applications seeking to export 28% of our current natural gas, american natural gas. natural gas here in the united states, all around the world.
and why do they want to do that? well, they want to do that even though the energy department says it could lead to a 54% increase in the price of natural gas for americans. they want to do it for a very simple reason. the price of natural gas in japan right now is seven times higher than the price of natural gas here in america. american companies want to sell the natural gas to the japanese rather than the americans because they can make seven times as much money. in europe it's four times as high. they want to sell the natural gas of america overseas rather than keep the prices low for people to keep their homes heated, to keep our industries growing. the petrochemical industry, the fertilizer industry, the plastics industry, all those industries dependent on these fuels. it's good for the oil industry, very bad for the american domestic manufacturing sector.
because low price natural gas is what's fueling the increase in manufacturing all across this country. and so i just totally reject the premise of the majority in allowing for the sale of our oil and gas out of our land across the country and at this point, i am going to reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seebling recognition? mr. hastings: i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. hastings: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. i'm afraid from my reading of the amendment that this displays a lack of understanding regarding existing federal laws and the rl re-alities of oil and natural gas markets. oil produced on federal lands is already subject to export administration act.
in order to export crude oil, they would have to apply for the president. i just think that what this is, more than anything else, is an effort to make production on federal lands and thus less valuable. as a matter of fact, that would be less. what about products made from oil. and we know there's a vast array of products made from oil. i think of a product that is made in my state, one of the biggest manufacturers in my home state of washington is boeing. there was a big fanfare. in fact, a couple of weeks ago,
they had a -- their latest product on display at reagan national. it's called the 787 dreamliner, which of course is made of composites. composites made of natural resources, inch e. oil and natural gas and others. now the way this amendment is written, because there's no restrictions, that means that boeing probably could not export 787's. and frankly, their biggest market is in the international market. let's not confine it to boeing. what about other byproducts that we manufacture. one comes to mind because my wife asked if we were using it doing some home repairs this weekend, wd-40. petroleum product. i understand that that company exports a lot of that product overseas. the way this amendment is written, one could assume that that too would be restricted. what would that do, then to the
job market and our economy if we restrict what is the result of oil and natural gas being exported overseas. so i just want to repeat, there are restrictions for crude oil on federal lands. that's existing law. this amendment adds nothing to it. what i'm concerned about is, i guess, the unintended consequence, let's not get ourses into a situation before we have to know what's in it. i don't think this amendment is a good amendment. i urge my colleagues to reject it and i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts has 30 seconds remaining. mr. markey: would it be possible for the chair to recapitulate the time availabled to the majority and minority. the chair: the gentleman from washington has two minutes remaining. mr. markey: does the gentleman have any other speakers? mr. hastings: i am prepared to
close if my friend is prepared to close. mr. markey: i was prepared to hear the gentleman from louisiana make some comments. mr. hastings: we will get that opportunity. mr. markey: i will then yield myself the final time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. markey: in summary, price waterhouse estimates that u.s. manufacturing companies could employ one million more workers if they continue to have low priced natural gas. exporting natural gas, exporting crude oil, is only going to hurt our domestic economy. except for one industry, the oil industry. american oil production right now is aits highest since bill clinton. natural gas proction, at its all-time high ever. and what the american petroleum stry is now sayinis want to
crude oil. start exporting this natural gas around the planet. keep american oil and natural gas here in america, do not export it to other countries. it should be for americans, for american companies. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. markey: vote aye onhe markey amendment. the chaihe gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: first, i would urge people to reject the markey amendment. i made an observation, maybe somebody is sang, really stretching it if you're going to byproducts. i referenced the way the amendment was written. the amendment is written where it says, very specifically, all oil and gas. let's see, a product is made from oil and, qualify? so i think this is a vy, very serious concern and once again, it's the unintended potential consequences of this legislation -- of this amendment. so i urge rejection of the
marquee -- markey amendment and yielald back the time. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman fromusetts. thosin favay aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. markey: i request a recorded vote. the chair: a recorded vote is requested. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 16 printed in house report 112-540. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? mr. landry: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. clerthe amendment number 16, offered by mr. landry of louisiana. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
mr. landry: this amendment is simple, it seeks to improve the environment by assuring that those states that allow offshore drilling are allowed to keep more revenue from off their shores. we passed the historic gulf of mexico act that allows states to share in the royalties from offshore drilling. however the act only provided 37.5% of the revenue to the states and then capped the states at no more than a collective $500 million per year. condition versely, the mineral leasing act requires the federal government to give 50% of the energy revenue generate opped federal lands to states in which it is generated. in louisiana we wholly support offshore drilling. but we are proud to supply 80% of our nation's offshore energy. why should we not share in
this? my amendment moves the share of drilling into line with the on shore drilling. my amendment does not impact on shore producing states. if your state is receiving revenue om on shore energy production, now, my amendment does nothing to change that. all the amendment doesmove louisiana, texas, mississippi, and alabama att hore state rrtl enjoy. this amendment is nearly identical to the amendment that both myself and the gentleman from least, mr. richmond, offered during consideration of h.r. 3408, the pioneers act, of which that amendment passed by bipartisan support of 266-159. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington is recognized. ntlehe n for yielding.
i think the gentleman has a goodme it has passed on a bipartisan basis on the floor. i support the amendment and yield back to the gentleman. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. markey: i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five mins. mr. markey: mr. speaker, every day will be mardi gras down in louisiana ifhe gentleman's amendment is adopted. we, that is, all the rest of us in the country, we are already going to be sending $150 billion to these poor states over the next 60 years. i don't blame the gentleman for coming back to for coming back to try to get another bite of the apple. i would say to the gentleman from louisiana that his state already won the baby in the king cake when the gomesa
giveaway was enacted in 2006. you're already entitled to $150 billion of revenue coming out at of the federal government and heading your way. i think it's time for your region to give a little back to the other 46 states in the union that didn't benefit from that 2006 giveaway to you. what's done, is done. and you get the $150 billion. i think it's time for taos reduce the federal deficit. the money ka. -- that comes in from the revenues, from the drilling, should help out the whole country. i would make that case, if you come from one of those poor states, vote for the gentleman from louisiana's amendment. it's a good amendment for you if you come from one of those poor states. but if you come from one of the other 46 states, you've got rocks in your head if you're voting for that amendment.
just another $6 billion from your pock into the pockets of the four states down there. it makes no sense at all after the $150 billion we gave them six years ago. the chair: the gentleman from louiana. mr. landry: i wouem the gentleman from massachusetts, this is, if you are an environmentalist and you want to help protect the environment like i know the gentleman from massachusetts so desperately wants to do, i've served with him in committee and enjoyed his passion for taking care of the environment, this is an environmental amendment. the citizens of -- the citizens have passed an amendment to dedicate all proceeds to go to coastal restoration and hurricane protection. this is buying us an insurance policy that the other 46 states who i know have been so generous to help us when hurricanes attack -- rah vg --
rah vadge our coast. i know the gentleman from massachusetts would love to help protect the environment in louisiana. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. markey: i thank the gentleman and yield myself as much time as i may consume. i'd be willing to have a conversation with the gentleman from louisiana about what the proper way is of dealing with the funding fhe preservation of the wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas down in the gulf of me but this isn't the way to do it. another perm thlaw in the hearings ng into orr to ensure that whatever expenditures are made are going for the intended purpose. that's not what this discussion is here tonight with a fi-minute amendment that we're debating.
$6 billion would come close to scrutiny about a quarter past nine at night. with the only people who are watching, they really need to get a life because that's about the level this ietting right now. i think the $6 billion the gentleman is seeking to request from the public has to be dispensed in a way that has a better process. i oppose the gentleman's amendment, i understand his intention but for the other 46 states, i don't think it's a good idea at this time, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. markey: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from
louisiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. mr. markey: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana will be postponed. it is in order to coid amendment number 17. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? mr. rigell: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 17 printed in house report 112-540 offered by mr. rigell of virginia. the chair: the gentleman from virginia and a member opposed will each control five minutes.s gentleman omirginia. mr. rigell: job-creating amendment and reflec the wisdom truly the will of the good folks of the commonwe of virginia and specifically within the great district that i have the
privilege of serving and representing, the 2nd congressional district of virginia. the house of delegates of the commonwealth of virginia h de it car andd nee toove forwarstalvirginia ennd the same is truof the virginiaenate. and st today, we receid a lett oftrong suppo from governor mcdonald, of which i'm gratul for his support of this endmen it has tremendous oppounity pufos to work. in this very chamber, mr. chairman, i recall our president, president obama, saying he was an all of the above president and i think i was the first to leap to my feet in full support. we have failed the american people over the last many decades in moving this country towards energy independence. yet i'm unable to reconcile what he is saying with the painful
reality in va 2. there is a full moratorium on the responsible exploration and harvesting of virginia's coastal virginia energy. in my view, mr. chairman, this is a muscle moratorium on job creation. and that means there is a full moratorium on the tax revenues that we need for healthier schools and better roads. so this amendment is directed right at that, to break through and to create action where there is a full moratorium. the way the bill works, the amendment works, it requires the secretary of interior to ininclude virginia in the five-year oil and leasing plan. conduct lease-sale 220. and the word that comes to my mind is definitive action.
this is what the american people want and what the folks of virginia's congressional 2nd district want. it moves us away tr dependence on countries for oil, in which they are opposed to us. and we can do this in an environmentally responsible way. >> would the gentleman yield? mr. hastings: i think the gentleman has a good amendment and i have been talking about where virginia has been shortchanged and this advances that debate and what we want is the action. i support the gentleman's amendment and i yield back. mr. rigell: i thank the chairman for his support. i urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill. these are life-changing jobs. there is tremendous potential and we can do this in an environmentally responsible way
and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? mr. markey: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. markey: this would ask the secretary of the department of interior to conduct studies. the obama administration canceled the proposed lease sale. the overwhelming majority of the virginia lease sale area infringes on critical training areas for the navy. the defense department has concluded over 78% of the leas sale area would occur in areas where military operations would be impeded by drilling structures and related activities. this area is home to critical military actions including
tests, aircraft carrier qualifications, undersea surface operations and shipboard qualification tests. the military's activities in this area would torpedo drilling in most of this land. of the remaining 22%, the majority of the unrestricted waters available for leasing would occur in the main shipping channel for norfolk and the chesapeake bay as well as the main channel used by submarines. in the end, the gentleman could only could occur in 10% of the area that the majority is talking about off the virginia coast when this congress still has not passed a single legislative reform to improve the safety of offshore drilling. this does president seem like it's worth the risk. ofhore drilling, new jersey t and maryland oppose it along with many other states.
these states' economy depend on the tourism that come to see oil-free beaches and fishing in their waters and we are talking about their waters. drilling off the coast of virginia could affect maryland, new jersey and many other states up and down the east coast because of oil spills, which do not respect state boundaries. this congress has yet to enact a safety reform following the deepwater horizon disaster. the spigs commission gave congress the grade of d on its legislative response on the worst environmental disaster offshore and only refrained from handing out an f and these are the words of the bp spill commission, it did not want to insult the whole institution. the gentleman's amendment would place the east coast in danger.
that doesn't make any sense for our coastal states. the risks are higher than the small benefits which can be derived. i urge rejection of this amendment and i yield back the remapeder. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia. >> i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from yields. the question is offered on the the gentleman from offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. a recorded vote is requested. pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition. mr. hastings: i move that the committee do now rise.
the chair: the question is on the committee do now rice. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises sfment the committee of the whole house on the state union having had under consideration h.r. 4480 directs me to report it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the committee has had under consideration h.r. 4480 and has come to no resolution thereon. mr. hastings: i ask unanimous consent that when the house adjourns today it adjourns to meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hastings: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a
personal request. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for mr. bachus for today. wasmede. mr. hastings: i ask that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion adopted. accordingly, the house stands
>> tell us about these bills. >> the energy bill has been repackaged to talk more about the jobs able because of the concerns about the economy. there are several controversial provisions in the bills, including provisions that would affect the eta up 40. >> do these bills create jobs -- affect the eta authority?
>> do these bills create jobs? >> who is better equipped to deal with the economy? is it president obama? or is it republicans who are hoping that their candidate will be victorious? >> have many of the provisions in this bill been debated and passed? >> there is a mixture of provisions in the bill. some have passed in other forms. one provision in particular is language that would basically spur the approval of the key storm -- keystone pipeline that runs from the canadian border to mexico -- the gulf of mexico, i should say. that comes in multiple places. it has come up in spending bills. that is part of the transportation bill, which is
another separate issue. it is one of these occurring fight on capitol hill. >> on this energy package, what are they saying for and against the bill? >> they are saying that there is a solution in search of the problem. they will argue, in particular or and gas, that development is already occurring. the house democrats were circulating some talking points prior to consideration of the bill and pointing out info. those theing statistics to say that oil production is actually greater now than it was in the last several years of the bush administration. of course, these things run in cycles. >> what about the obama administration? we heard the position of the keystone. what about the bill over all?
are there things that they are in favor of? >> well, they send out something that is a statement of administration policy on the eve of the consideration of this bill in the house. frankly, it did not have many nice things to say about the bill at all. they said that it would hamper national security. there is some language in the bill that would tie releases of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve and they are making the argument that it would tie the hands and make it harder for the administration to respond to changes in the oil markets. they said it would hamper national security. they also criticized provisions that would change the clean air act essentially. there is language in the bill which would alter the way that air quality standards are set and the consideration of costs
in that process. historically, costs has been considered in the implementing of the law. >> >> thanks for the update. >> house republican leaders have scheduled a vote to contempt charges against attorney general eric holder for next week. this, after a house committee today passed the contempt citation along party lines. we'll see that hearing in about 40 minutes from now, at about 10:15 eastern here on c-span. right now peter, a hero to story for "fortune" magazine about the collapse of f.m. global. he was on this morning's "washington journal." >> our guest joining us from pieter alkind. this time we're taking a look at the last days of m.s. global. thanks for your time, sir.
>> it traded wheat futures and metal and financial futures and it was a fairly big firm in that business, but a small firm by the standards of wall street. the key character, the key player in business, was jon corzine. he was c.e.o. of the firm. and before that was the top guy at goldman sachs, and after that was both senator from new jersey and then governor of new jersey. >> you write a line in your story -- "the collapse of global in 2011 was a powerful events. it destroyed the reputation of a famous man. it elevated a firm no one had heard of to infamy and it shattered trust that brokerage
money is always safe." could you take us through those three elements and paint a picture of the story you tell when it comes to mf global, starting with mr. corzine himself? >> sure. corzine was a famous man. he had run the biggest, the mows powerful firm on wall street, which was goldm he had been e p guy there. and then when he was ousted from goldman sachs a a long and successful career there, he was ousted in a coup led by hank paulson, he immediately went into politics and spent an i norm must amount of his fortune to get elected u.s. snomplet was successful at at for recon by s richristie.
deserts a series of steps that would lead to the company's demise. what were those steps? >> it is important to understand that the reason was because there seo had very roughly resigned. he had very weak capital structure to begin with. the agencies had a gun to their heads. it was two steps above junk status. when the pigs the zero resigned, when the previous ceo resigned, they had to come up with the situation that will make everyone happy. corzine was the answer. host: it came into a difficult situation in the first place. he immediately recognized that the company was a big bet on
interest rates. not i trading commissions, but rather taking in customer deposits and invest in this customer deposits and making some money. when interest rates were at 0 in the wake of the financial crisis, it disappeared. they had to come up with the new business model essentially. but they took a risk that the never took bets before and to invest it. find ways to come up with interest income and profits. essentially, that led him and the 2010 to invest in european sovereign debt. host: peter elkind from "fortune magazine."
you can call in and ask him questions. the number for the republican line is 202-737-0002. the number for the democrat line is 202-737-0001. the number for the independent line is 202-628-0205. you can tweet us and send us e- mails. mr. corzine invested in bonds. what happened after that? guest: what invested in was european sovereign bonds. early on they did it in a fairly small way. it was successful. he made it bigger and bigger. essentially, the have as much as $7 billion of european sovereign debt. for that size, it was enormous. it was many times the firm of's equity and capital. people inside and outside the firm got increasingly nervous. host: at that point, after the
investment of the bonds, was there a tipping point? guest: there was a tipping point. what happened is that the index prices got worse and worse over time. initially when they invested in the european debt, it is almost like investing in u.s. treasurys. the counterparties did not require much in the way of margarine or collateral to accept the investments. as it became clear that there was a possibility of fear that some of these european nations such as ireland and portugal, italy, looked shakier and shakier over time. the counterparties in the clubhouse required more cash and securities in order to maintain
as an investment for ms global. amex global did not have a lot of capital. -- mf global did not have a lot of capital. they got into a liquidity squeeze. one of the things he was simultaneously doing was using this trading, this risky trading that they had never engaged in before, as a bridge. he is using it to survive on a dolong enough and get to a point of these new businesses he was creating that they would kick in and become a major goldman sacks. he was simultaneously tried to transform this firm and may very rapid order and under enormous pressure from rating agencies and try to keep it alive by doubling all the balls in the
air. it is a method of investing. host: peter elkind from "fortune magazine." here is austin, texas. mike on our independent line. go ahead. caller: i was hearing on one of these programs and he was saying that mf global one into personal accounts that were not supposed to be touched. first of all, can you elaborate on that? the think anyone will be prosecuted if anything did happen? host: go-ahead. guest: yes. those are critical point.
let me talk about the disastrous weeks before the firm's collapse. what happened was is cash squeeze of liquidity squeeze. it was a very fragile firms. it is like trying to build a race car with bicycle tires. and all apart in the final week. there is a terrible earnings report. it was downgraded repeatedly delayed the final week leading up to halloween of 2011. over the week, it entered a huge crisis. there was a run of the bank essentially. in this chaos, customers were withdrawing money. others were demanding millions of dollars. counterparties stop lending money to mf global. they're trying to find a buyer before selling the firm. in this process, mid-week,
wednesday, it dipped into customer funds. the way it is set up under the regulations, some structured -- customer money that is mixed in with our money. that is supposed to serve as a questions of that to always have a certain amount for their customers. there is a fire line with all the moving parts and customers taking money -- there is a fine line with all the moving parts and customers take money out. there needs to be a substantial cushion there and do not touch the house money. troubled in these days did dip into customers' money because it was desperate for cash. they did out of desperation to meet their needs.
if the bill would bar from customer bonds during the day and repeat it by monday -- but they would do was borrow from customer funds during the day and repay it by monday. over the week, it got worse and worse. by the time they went bankrupt, there was a discrepancy of $1.6 billion between what customers were owed and with the firm had in customer accounts. u.s. customers were trading with foreign exchanges. it was european rules and not u.s. rules. in england, there is about 600 a
$700 million over there that would not be able to be reclaimed for customers. it is complicated. it is subject to claim by creditors, such as banks like j.p. morgan, who were owed money by mf global. it is said to be about $1.6 billion. customer money has never been missing in this way. it has shaken the trust of people who invested in this. it has become an enormous scandal. it will take years before some of that money comes back. it is subject to all kinds of competing claims. we will have to see what will happen. i will try to get money back for customers. there is another bank trusty try to get money back to creditors. they are fighting over the money to some extent.
it is a big mess. the issue of whether anyone will be prosecuted, that is unclear at this stage. the been testy as concluded that there are simple claims against -- it has been concluded that there are simple claims against corzine. there'll be a grand jury. these kinds of things take a long time. host: marshall. republican line. go ahead. caller: this is kind of a follow-up to what was said before. why would anyone be charged or even arrested at this point in time? i am a former member of the exchange myself and this is revolting behavior. you never touched funds. -- you never touch funds.
what ever happened in the past is minuscule compared to the corzine brought.n i wonder if that is one of the reasons why it fitzgerald withdrew from the office. maybe he is being struck un gup. - strung up. guest: i agree with the first part. this is a horrible an unprecedented thing. it think it would result in criminal charges. and it might. as a practical matter, absence of e-mail and over directives from porcorzine to take money
from customer funds to keep the business afloat, that would be a smoke and gun kind of pace. black-and-white. it would be easy. a kind of document does not exist at all. one key person is the treasurer of mf global. she was the air traffic controller of cash for the firm. she was moving money around from account to account. she complained about this. she thought it was a problem for months. she thought it was a shell game to move money from place to place. she has taken the fifth when asked to testify before congress. she is reportedly seeking a deal for a manatee with prosecutors -- immunity the prosecutor's for saying anything new.
she has not told her tail. we do not know what she will say. that is one way in potential criminal charges could be brought. there could also be negligence. regulatory charges as well. for their big a conspiracy out there, he is a very tough prosecutor. he is also investigating mf global. prosecutors are absolutely top notch. it is hard to imagine there is some conspiracy -- at this point, he is not a popular guy. the notion that the justice department is protecting him seems improbable to me. very improbable. these things take a long time. i am skeptical if there is any effort to protect corzine
because of his relationship to president obama. caller: as a former account holder of mf global, funds are taken without my authorization. is now being handled in one of the most bizarre procedures i have ever imagined could occur in this country. i am not going to characterize our government, but i will say the bankruptcy procedure seems to be in reminiscent of something that might occur nowadays in russia. host: peter elrind. it is an extraordinarily strange process. there is one person
representing the customers and the other the creditors. if they have a unified purpose to reclaim as much money for the people who are owed money. the regime, the protocol, the rules, the law are very complicated and conflicting about who gets priority and who gets to the money first. the customers? the banks? the u.s. customers? it and you have money overseas, -- if you have money overseas, that is subject to a whole different set of rules. i sympathize with your situation. it seems incredibly tangled because it really is. host: pennsylvania. republican line. tom, good morning. caller: this is a fascinating case. we are looking at an illustration of the result of corruption of money and
politics. the supreme coup was the implantation of john roberts, the chief justice of the u.s. supreme court. corzine will never go to jail. every one of us knows it. anyone who has wait in politics and finance, they know that they are protected. the entire nation is sick of this business. host: just to add, we'd be putting him under jail. guest: i do not think this is a -- they have a tremendous track record going after a good case when they see it.
i understand the impatience and the skeptics. this is just this way the system runs on. it is not a political conspiracy. host: new york. good morning. new york, are you there? mark on the democrat line? as far as the internal structure of mf global, who was warning mr. corzine? guest: well, the whole dynamic had a lot to do with what happened. this was a company that was fragile when he arrived. it arrives the ceo, a guy who was very famous and have a much bigger operation. goldman sachs is 100 times the size of mf global.
he was going to get what he thought was right as the ceo who was more than they thought they deserved in some ways. having said that, when he came up with efforts, his plan to transform the company and say it and transform it by trading, the board was absolutely briefed on every step of the way of his strategy. they discussed this bet on european debt in great detail. the broad to the board and discussed it. there were monthly updates on the sovereign debt positions. literally all through this six or seven months of 2011. the board approved this. the went to them repeatedly to increase the size of a gamble. they approved it. whatever you think of the
investment and there were doubts internally within the firm, skepticism on the board, they did go along with it. they never said no until much later in 2011. that is something that is important to understand. host: victoria from twitters asks, what happened to that law? guest: it is potentially a criminal violation. it never should have happened, the use of customer money. the accounts should be kept safe and guaranteed so it could be returned to customers. it cannot be used by the firm for some purposes -- for its own
purposes. it is clear that hundreds of millions of money was moved out of customers' accounts and moved into house accounts to meet the cash demands of the firm. that is not proper or legal. the question is whether someone did that deliberately to keep the firm afloat until it could be sold? there are potential issues of fraud, regulatory issues, false there are a lot, of issues there. host: independent line. caller: i am interested in how the government can find $5,000 in an account [inaudible] they cannot find out what happened to $1.2 billion? that sounds ridiculous to me.
guest: i understand your frustration. i have talked about both subjects some time ago. there are a lot of moving parts in mf global and a lot more money that has been misplaced. it is not that they did i know where the money is, but it is a question now of getting it back. a lot of london, a lot of it is in the house of counterparties. the question is, who gets it? in the final days of the firm's life, they were desperately trying to sell every asset they had. that required someone to buy it and it required a couple of days typically for the transaction to unwind for the cash to be
returned to mf global. when people got the smell of blood in the air and realize it was in bad shape, everyone was owed money slow down the process of moving money back to the firm. they wanted their hand on the cash when the music stopped. that is exactly what happened. it was supposed to come back to mf global, but it was halted. it was left in place at j.p. morgan and clearing houses. now that the trustee has identified were all of this money is, there'll be a big fight. it could perhaps take years in courts in both the u.s. and in england to try to get it all back.
that is not so much at this stage that they cannot find it, but trying to figure out how to get it back and who it belongs to. host: peter elkind from "fortune magazine." we're talking about the last days of mf global. next caller. caller: i have a question for civil unions. no one knew anything about it. i went on line and found out that civil unions will not be held for heterosexual couples but the living together. on homosexuals. that is discrimination right off the bat. host: but we are talking
about mf global. what about that? caller: they are saying one person, four drugs. host: let's move on. michael, independent line. caller: i have a question in reference to this issue. the attorney general is holding these guys accountable. we are sick and tired of the supreme court dictating our future and telling these companies that they have power to bet on people's money. host: which regulatory agencies are overseeing these compproces? six guest: there were a
couple of regulators, the fcc delegated the responsibility for other entities. the oversights of this very much split up rules are complicated, it is a crazy system. ultimately when they ended up in the collapse, they wre 8 or 10 regulators on the scene trying to figure out what to do. that was part of the problem. no one had oversight of the entire business. it was possible to shuffle assets from one place to another and avoid scrutiny from one or more of the regulators and they were dealing with. host: virginia.
rich on our republican line. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. you can look at this guy and jamie dimon. i do not understand how -- he is bankrupt in jail, and they endive people for a whole lot less than that. then you have jamie dimon and that goes up there. people used to work for him or on the board.
i have a small business. if i ran my company like this comment they would have me in jail. there is a whole lot of dirty smelly stuff going on out here. this is the tip of the iceberg. they are afraid a whole bunch more will come out. when the audience comes then, you ought to take it to heart. i will take your comments of the air. something is not right. terrible things happened here. the notion of losing track of
that is shocking. it is outrageous. it may result in criminal charges. there is this painful process that should take place. i understand. this financial world as the understand how the role world operates. it is a terrible thing. there is a failure to appreciate outrage about all the things wall street does. i understand the shock about how
business is done. sometimes this is bad business mistakes. sometimes it is illegal. sometimes it is what is legal that is most shocking -- not what is illegal. caller: you said before politically that jon corzine seems to be toast. no one wants to associate with him. however, he is the second largest funder for barack obama. so how could you really expect any law or any criminal actions to come after him while he is the second-largest funder for obama? to expect the attorney general, at this time, to prosecute a man who was siphoning money to obama? no.
this is what the problem is. we have no faith in our justice situation anymore. nor do we expect from the elite to prosecute one another. question a major fund-raiser for barack obama. in fact, the senate played a part in launching obama's political career. however, he is not a fundraiser now. just as the bush administration was willing to appoint a special justice department task force to prosecute folks at enron and a successfully did so, can lay was convicted. he died before he appealed his case and went to prison. the republican administration was willing to do that and did do that. camouflet was close to the bush family -- ken lay was close to the bush family.
they are capable of doing whatever they need to do in investigating mf global. at this point, the political points to be scored are going after jon corzine, not protecting him. they will go where the chips fall and will pursue this case if there is a case to be made. the track record that have had in recent years has not been very good. i do not think there is a grand
political conspiracy. host: do we know what mr. corzine is doing now? guest: he is laying low. i heard he is spending time with his grandchildren. he is a notorious workaholic. he's not doing what he wants to do which is be back in business in some form that is kind of his makeup. even at the age of 65. he is obviously not in any position to be doing that with anybody. host: virginia beach, independent line. caller: what good is the curriculum of accounting is the largest trust that too big to
audit, too big to fail organizations do not have to use any accounting practices? just look at the paper trail. there is double entry accounting practices that should be followed. long before there is a problem that reaches this level, it should be found. put some accountants in jail and they will start talking. in your research, what have you said? if you are real about getting to the problem, start with the accounting. guest: that is an interesting issue and a good point. that was true at enron and mf global. the accountants were not in a position to know a lot.
and in particular, and part of it is the county regime that exists. what is legal, not illegal. for example, if the european sovereign debt trade that jon corzine made were driven by oddities of the accounting rules. because the way he made these trades, $6.3 billion was through eight repo to maturity. a repurchase to maturity action. he financed the bonds with a lender and actually -- and would profit on the amount of interest they made and through the complexity and way they made this deal, there were able to book profits and the trade. they're not actually pay off the hand for that time. because of accounting rules, they could book the profits up front, right away, when they made a deal.
that allowed them to make profits in the short-term that allowed the entire firm to be in the black. at least that was the goal. that did happen and at least one quarter. mf global book enough to be profitable for one-quarter. but that was an oddity of the accounting rules. jon corzine was exploiting that to keep the firm alive. it was an accounting driven aspect of the trade. there is one director of the company that hated it. he asked him, if you had to do this in a normal way, would you have made these trades?
of course, he said, absolutely not. too much volatility in the firm's earnings statement. because of the profits of front, and because he did not have to show on its balance sheets, because of these crazy accounting rules, it caused a problem. host: there is a story from bloomberg's saying that one of the trustees involved said there was no time monitoring liquidity from mf global. guest: yes. one of the big problems was the whole infrastructure in terms of people, computer systems, in terms of rules and approvals, was far too weak. there were a futures of brokerage historically. they're trying to become my
goldman sachs. that is this new approach to business that jon corzine was implementing. it was part of the problem. they literally did not know how much cash they had. host: what has been the impact, if any, on a similar-type of firm. guest: they have rushed to get rid of any sovereign debt they have that is not disclosed. one firm was reported to have had some sovereign debt, and they dumped it on an emergency basis.
there was tremendous fear that any firm that had sovereign debt might be in the same position as mf global. in addition, many firms rushed to say, we do not touch our customer funds. we keep in place and did not tap day-to-day needs. certainly many protests of, your funds are safe with us. there was a lot of testimony and suggestions for changing the rules. regulators doing much better job of saying that the customer money is in place on a daily basis. host: peter elkind with fortune magazine talking about the last days of mf global. thank you for your time, sir. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> tomorrow, our guests include mickey from massachusetts. she will take a questions on defense spending and also talk about the house committee vote that will hold eric holder in contempt of congress. and we'll talk about the upcoming supreme court decision on the affordable care act with former candidates rep michele
bachmann of minnesota. "washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> how do you approach but interviews differently? >> i think of the book interviews as gathering history. i think of interviewing and i'm working for the news side as gathering contemporary information. >> how difficult is it to remain impartial in your reporting? >> i am going to try to get people as full an understanding of what is happeni in this campaign. it is not that difficult to put your biases to the site. >>, a social media change your line of work? >> twitter is now a primary news source for anyone who pays
attention to politics. twitter did not exist four years ago for any practical purposes. >> they entered via dan -- interviewdan balz on the rise in social media. >> house republican leaders said today that they will hold a vote next week on a contempt of congress citation against eric holder. this after the house oversight committee passed a citation along party lines. president obama asserted executive privilege this morning in order to continue withholding documents related to the fast and furious operation which the justice department says contains information about internal deliberations. the justice department's past appears operation and of the tactic of gun walking which allowed weapons to be smuggled
into mexico. this meeting is chaired by democratic republican. >> the committee meets today to consider reporting a resolution to the house of representatives, finding the attorney general eric holder jr. in an contempt of congress. on the night of december 14, 2010, in a canyon west of rio arizona, u.s. border patrol agents were engaged in a shootout with armed mexican bandits preying on illegal
immigrants. one was o'brien terry come a three-year veteran who had served as a u.s. marine and gone through boot camp. to an operation conducted by the department of justice called fast and furious. 16 months ago this committee launched an investigation into whistle-blowers' allegations regarding fast and furious. we became involved only after senator grassley was told he would not received answers from the justice department because in fact he did not have subpoena power and was not the chairman. in the course of our
investigation, the committee has uncovered serious wrongdoing by the justice department. that wrongdoing led to 2000 weapons crossing the mexican border that cost lives on both sides of the border including t erry's. the operation contributed the death of countless mexican citizens. it has soured our relationship with our neighbor to the south. it has created an ongoing safety problem here in the united states in which even the attorney general has admitted more lives could be lost. the department of justice has fought the investigation every step of the way starting with an unequivocal denial that he used the reckless tactics we now were used in fast and furious.
the denial proved to be false and ultimately the justice department with your it. in december having given its u.s. in february. today's content is in no small part because the materials and between the time a false statement was given to us in writing and leader of firm in sworn testimony by the justice department representative, an officer of the courts and dean of a law school, was ultimately falls. that remains one of the areas of investigation. congress allies on the ability to get testimony when investigating wrongdoing in and around the executive branch. despite the lack of transparency, the committee has
managed to piece together much of what has happened. we believe we can help participate in making sure it never happens again. our work is not complete. we need the department of justice to cooperate. thus far the cooperation has not been forthcoming. the department has saw to protect its political appointees. it has used this investigation by the department's inspector general, which has been pending a very long time. as a reason not to cooperate. they say they will be forthcoming in a month. we need answers sooner, not later. the attorney general has said he has gone to extraordinary measures to participate and to help. we received approximately 6700
documents. many are responsive to other operations conducted before he was attorney general. those documents pale in comparison to the 80,000 or more documents that the inspector general has received. our purpose has never been to hold the attorney general in contempt. our purpose has been to get the information the committee need to complete its work that it is entitled and obligated to do. we have offered the department an accommodation to address is concern about information related to ongoing prosecutions. if the justice department had delivered the documents they admitted they could, we would not be here today. as late as last night, our offer was only to give us a briefing.
such documents supported the briefing and only if we ended the investigation. content today is not about whether we ended the investigation or not. it is about a narrow subset that the committee must ultimately receive. the subpoenas are eight months old. it is the duty of the executive branch and agencies to represent itself before congress and to make available such transparency as necessary for us to fund and authorize now and in the future the request of this. only a few minutes before the gabbling of this markup did we
receive from the deputy attorney general a letter dated today not spoken of last night. it says, and i would ask unanimous consent that the entire letter be placed in the record. it says i write to inform me that the president has asserted executive privilege over relevant documents. it goes on for several pages. as we speak, the committee is evaluating this. we have verified that no communications from the president has a right before the house.
at least in a preliminary evaluation, we discover that the president after february 4 has said that he has not discussed this and was not made aware. the attorney general has repeatedly given us testimony showing that he did not speak to the president about this. i now read for the record from page 25 of when congress comes calling, which is from the constitution project. executive privilege. the president's communications privilege "the communications in question must relate to the
quintessential and non-delegated to presidential power that requires direct presidential decision making. the privilege is limited to the core constitutional powers of the preston such as the power to remove the commander in chief president, it the sole authority to receive ambassadors and public ministers in the parking power. i claim not to be a constitutional scholar. we work to see what assertions may arrive. we will take notice of them. more than eight months after subpoena and clearly after the question of executive privilege this untimely assertion by the justice department fall short of any reason to delay the proceedings.
we have made many attempts to accommodate the justice department. a regimen 22 areas were on our subpoena. we narrowed three master areas to two on may 18. we asked for cooperation and narrowing the scope of the subpoena. we have further narrowed to one area for purposes of consent and we have been tonight. we have done this only if the committee agrees to close the investigation. no investigator would ever agree to that.
this cannot be concluded simply based on a briefing about post- february 4. the attorney general says his offer is extraordinary. the only thing extraordinary is that he is asking the committee to close an investigation before the committee even get to see the documents. he is pretending to offer. i cannot accept this deal. the other committee would. this committee will be considering today a very narrow contempt. members on both sides of the day is have said that we owe it to the terry family to get to the truth. it is my intention to continue post-content to do our job was amazing our other obligations to
pursue waste fraud and abuse. with that, i recognize the ranking member. >> thank you. it is -- i just want to first ball go back -- first of all go back for one moment in this document you read from june 20. i do believe we need to study this and make sure that we understand exactly what the president is a searching here. the legal basis, the compelled reduction to congress of these
internal executive-branch documents generated in the course of the delivered to a process concerning the department's response to congressional oversight and related to media inquiries which have significant and damaging consequees. as i explained in our meeting, it would inhibit the cantor of such executive branch deliberations in the future and impair the ability to respond independently and to congressional oversight. such disclosure would be inconsistent with the powers established in the constitution and create an imbalance in the relationship between these two equal branches of government. i do believe congress has a
responsibility to conduct a vigorous oversight of the executive branch. that is our job. the constitution requires this from congress. the american people expect it. we are avoiding unnecessary conflict by seeking reasonable accommodations when possible. the committee has failed the offered to provide delivered to a document. he pledged to provide a
substantive briefing on the department's actions. he agreed to a request by senator grassley to describe the categories of documents being produced and those of being withheld. he made clear that he was willing to provide staptive responses to additional questions. and he even said he would provide documents that are outside the scope of the subpoena and made it clear that he already provided documents that weren't even asked for. all he requested in return was that you, as chairman of this committee, give him your good-faith commitment that we would move toward resolving this contempt fight. didn't ask for it in the investigation. just ending this contempt fight. and i double-checked with my staff, because when he said that i heard -- i was in the meeting with him and i heard
what he said. he was very clear. it was a fair and reasonable offer, especially in the light of the partisan and highly inflammatory personal attacks he made against him throughout this investigation. you accused him of documents and a cover-up for protecting documents that he was prohibited by law from producing. you claim that he -- and i quote -- obstructed, ends of quote, the committee's work by complying with federal statutes passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of the united states.
and earlier this month you went on national television and called the attorney general, the nation's highest-ranking chief law enforcement officer, a liar. at the same time you refused requests to hold a public hearing with ken melson, the former head of the a.t.f. this refusal came after mr. melson told the committee investigators privately that he never informed senior officials at the justice department about gun walking during operation fast and furious, because he was unaware himself. last night you flatly rejected the attorney general's offer. you refused to even commit to working towards a mutually agreeable resolution. instead you rushed to a
pre-arranged press conference to announce the failure of the meeting. it seems clear that you had no interest in resolving this issue and that the committee planned to go forward with the contempt before we walked into the meeting with the attorney general. it pains me to say this, but this is what i believe. this is especially disappointing, since the department has already turned over more than 1,000 pages of documents that answer your question. you wanted to know why the department sent a letter to senator grassley initially denying allegations of gun walking. the documents show that when they were drafting this letter, the department's legislative affairs office relied on a cat gorecal and emphatic denials from the leaders of a.t.f. these are the same a.t.f. officials you now refuse to call for public hearing. this morning we were informed that the administration is now
asserting executive privilege over a narrow subset, and it is indeed narrow, of documents that remain at issue. as i understand it, the assertion does not cover everything in this category, such as whistle-blower documents, and the administration has indicated that it remains -- and i emphasize remains -- willing to try to come to a mutual resolution, despite its formal legal assertion. as a member of congress i treat assertions of executive privilege very seriously, and i believe they should be used only sparingly. in this case it seems clear that the administration was forced into a position by the committees on reasonable insistence on pressing forward with contempt, despite the attorney general's good-faith offer. mr. chairman, it did not have to be this way, it really
didn't. we could have postponed today's vote, accepted the attorney general's offer, and let the department obtain additional documents and information. instead, by not honoring the constitution as charged, to seek accommodation when possible, the position and prestige of this committee has been diminished and the result should concern us all. with that, i yield back. >> i trust the gentleman did not mean to demean my intention, but for the record, the press conference that occurred after our meeting was equally usable and intended to announce that we had a deal and a stay, if it was appropriate. and i had prepared a written statement saying that we would be staying today's markup had we been offered anything pursuant to our letter. so i trust the gentleman would realize that it could have gone another warkse and we had no
idea. >> -- another way, and i had no idea. >> mr. chairman, i believe you when you say that. i trust that that's what the situation was. i simply was giving my opinion of the way it was set up, that's all. >> i thank the gentleman. i will hold the record open until the end of the day for members who would like to submit formal written statements. the report will be considered as read under regular order and members will be recognized to speak to offer amendments under the five-minute rule. i now call up the contempt report regarding attorney general eric holder. the report has been distributed to all members. without objection, the report will be considered as read and open for amendment at any time. does anyone wish to speak on the report? with that, i would recognize the gentleman from indiana, mr. burton. five minutes. >> well, first of all, let me just say, after having been chairman of this committee for sixees, i want to compliment
our chairman on being so patient. i mean, if anybody looks at the record and sees how long darrell issa has dealt with this issue and how he's handled it, i think they would say that he has been more than patient. so i think that needs to be in the record. the second thing i'd like to say is that there's no question in anybody's mind that's been involved in this investigation that the attorney general has been stonewalling this committee. thchairman has contacted him and his associates numerous times, and without result. and when the chairman met with him in the last 24 hours and discussed this, there was no information forthcoming that would have been able to set aside this contempt hearing today. the second thing i'd like to say is that the president's assertion of executive privilege creates even more questions. one of the big issues that
we've been dealing with is who knew about fast and furious, when did they know about it, and how high up did it go? the attorney general has asserted on numerous occasions that he didn't know about this. now the president of the united states has claimed executive privilege. that brings into question whether or not eric holder knew about it, and how much did the president know about this? why would the president claim executive privilege unless there was something very, very important that he felt should not be made known to this committee and possibly to the public? and so my question is -- and i'm not going to take all my time -- who knew about this? how high up did it go? did it go to the attorney general or even the. the united states? and when did they know it? and this committee needs to find that out, especially since we had not only weapons going across the border, but a border patrol agent murdered with those weapons. i yield back to balance my
time. >> gentleman yields back. does anyone else seek recognition? the gentle lady from new york is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am astounded that today we are sitting here weighing whether to hold the attorney general of the united states the highest-ranking law enforcements officer in our country in contempt of congress. the house of representatives has never in our long history held an attorney general in contempt, and i am horrified that you are going forward with this contempt charge when the president of the united states and the administration have invoked executive privilege for the documents sought by the chairman.
and the attorney general is being attacked for protecting documents that he is prohibited by law from producing. i just speak strongly in opposition to this action and in opposition to this report. i would like to point out that our committee -- the committee on oversight and government reform is supposed to root out problems and find ways to reform how government works. it shouldn't be a political witch-hunt against the attorney general of our country and our president in an election year. and what we should be doing is looking at ways we can stop problems from happening again. so my basic question, mr.
chairman, is where is the reform? our committee is supposed to be working on government reform, and any legitimate investigation must be rooted in finding solutions to problems once they're identified, not just character assassination. and overruling presidents and attacking the chief law enforcement officer in our land. so again, i ask, where are the reforms? during this investigation we've learned a great deal about what went wrong in the phoenix field division at the a.t.f. and the arizona united states attorney's office. we heard directly from a.t.f. agents who witnessed the misguided tactics of gun-walking occur, which started in prior administrations. and they asked for our help in implementing reforms and coming
forward with solutions to the problems that they were seeing every day along the southwest border. the problem they were worried about was not paperwork and subpoenas and contempt charges. they were worried about guns. so where are the reforms and the actions that we could take in response to the problems that they put before us? throughout this investigation a.t.f. witnesses consistently told this committee that they need reinforcements to the weak federal laws that prohibit gun trafficking. peter forcelli, an a.t.f. special agent in phoenix called existing gun laws toothless. so, mr. chairman, when do we put forward some teeth in the law to help our enforcement
officers combat crime? efforts to simply discuss reforms have not been welcomed by this committee. when i attempted to question the a.t.f. agents about defects with the current laws to combat gun trafficking, mr. chairman, you cut me off and specifically instructed the a.t.f. agents not to answer my question. so i tried to act on reforms with many members of this committee, including ranking member cummings. we tried to help law enforcement officers fight gun trafficking along the southwest border and we did not get any support from the other side of the aisle. and mr. issa has rebuffed requests for reforms at the department of justice and the clear need for legislation to fight illegal gun trafficking along the southwest border, including a request for a
hearing on the topic. just a hearing. and the chairman has also demanded that the department of justice produce a wiretap applications that were ordered sealed. >> lady, your time has expired. we ask that you have an additional 30 second. without objection, so ordered. >> i would say, mr. chairman, i am offended personally by your calling the attorney general a liar. and it's extremely disrespectful and attacking to our public servant. and you've called me a liar. you apologized later, and i accepted. but where have we degenerated to in calling names, not having hearings on meaningful reforms, not acting on reforms, but merely degenerating to
attacking people and moving forward with paperwork that is unwarranted, unfair and violates the laws of the united states of america? >> i thank the gentle lady. who else seeks recognition? the gentleman from florida is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for upholding the responsibility of this investigative arm of the house of representatives to hold a highest-ranking prosecutorial official in the united states and the united states government responsible for what turned into the horrible death of one of our agents and a plan that went dramatically sour. i chaired the criminal justice drug policy subcommittee,
worked on plan columbia, met with mexican officials, warned them of what was coming. in march, 2009, we had a hearing. mr. waxman was the chairman at the time. congressman mica reached out his hand at the new administration by passionately pledging his full support if the new administration allocates large resources to assist the mexican government to contain drug violence with zero tolerance towards drug lords. mica explicitly encouraged the administration to put in place a plan to stop the slaughterhouse south of the border and help mexico regain control of its country. i also criticized the previous democrat-controlled congress for not conducting a single hearing. i did dozens of them.
the gentle lady is wrong, in that this is the first attorney general to face this situation. henry waxman threatened and scheduled contempt proceedings against some of the bush officials, including mccloskey, the attorney general. he charged him with failing to produce documents in connection with the committee's investigation and the release of classified documents. this is not about release of classified documents. this is very serious business. this is the highest judicial prosecutorial position in the united states involved in creating a situation in which an agent of the united states was murdered with weapons supplied by the department of justice in a scheme that went unbelievably sour, as i said.
now, for the first 11 months, the administration denied -- they denied participation in this to this committee, the investigative arm of the house of representatives. for eight months the chairman -- we've had a subpoena out there and they denied providing us the information. at the last hour, last night, they offered a deal to provide us some information and tried to close down the case. this is absolutely absurd. then this morning the white house, in an attempt to thwart the committee's lawful investigation, tries to throw out executive privilege, a complete fiasco. mr. burton and i, we've been on this committee a long time. there are reasons to exert
executive privilege and to stop -- try to stop the investigation of this committee into the department of justice, bringing about one of the worst injustices is indeed an injustice to the congress, to the american people and this important investigative arm of the house of representatives. this is a very sad day for the united states of america when the president would engage himself at the last minute and try to exert executive privilege, when the attorney general, who, again -- and, you know, our job is to find out what went wrong. maybe he is innocent. maybe people are innocent in this. but there is no reason in the world or under the law or under the proceedings of congress and our constitution and the way this government is set up that
this committee is not entitled to this information in this investigation to again maintain the integrity of this important office. i don't know, maybe i'm idealistic. i didn't think this could go on in a department of justice in the united states of america in this day and age. it's a very sad day. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. does anyone seek recognition? the gentle lady from the district of columbia is recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, actually, i have a question about the process that -- >> the gentle lady is recognized for her question. >> -- that was undertaken within the last 24 hours. in light of a statement you made, we are down, as i understand it, to internal deliberative documents, which may be the basis for the executive privilege, and the committee is no longer demanding documents that are
under satisfactorily or involved in ongoing investigations, criminal investigations. so we're down to the internal deliberative correspondence within the department. mr. chairman, clearly -- >> did the gentle lady state a question? >> yes, i'm prefacing it is. >> the gentle lady can be recognized for five minutes for any reason, but if you'd narrow your question. >> can i go on for five minutes, then? >> the gentle lady is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> during this process there has been an attempted resolution. the concern that we learned about what caused the killing of the agent was a bipartisan concern.
in your opening remarks you left the impression that the attorney general came with certain offerings of documents and demanded not to be held in contempt. the ranking member says in his statement that the attorney general asked that -- and i'm quoting now from what the ranking member said -- that we move toward resolving this contempt fight. forgive me, mr. chairman, if i read that as a call for continued discussions and negotiations behind the contempt matter. mr. chairman, considering that no cabinet official has ever
been held by the courts to be in contempt of congress, that if this matter gets to the floor of the house, it would then be referred to a crick u.s. attorney -- democratic u.s. attorney, just as to take the opposite case when this committee referred similar matters to ultimately a republican u.s. attorney. no action was taken. if we are interested in resolution, understanding that is the likely final result, it does seem to me, and i would ask you to reconsider what appears to be an offer by the attorney general, not a demand. and i believe some clarification is necessary here. but an offer that if he
presented these documents, which he believes he did not have to present, that you, in turn, agree to engage in continuing discussions and negotiations. if that is the case, it seems to me, mr. chairman, that would be the reasonable thing to do at this point, especially in light of the executive privilege. >> would the gentle lady yield? >> yes, sir. >> as i said in the opening, we don't have an assertion of executive privilege at the house. executive privilege has to have specificity as to what is being asserted over what documents. normally, as you know, a privilege log goes with that. to date the house has not received that from the office of the president. so although i read the portion of the letter and the entire letter is in the record, i did so only so that we would take note that it may come and that we certainly may recess at some point to evaluate the actual
statement of the president, but -- >> mr. chairman -- >> we're holding time right now, actually. we stopped the clock, because i want to make sure you have your full time. but if the gentle lady would allow me to continue, when it comes to the question of post uponning today, had the attorney general yesterday turned over the documents he said he would turn over in return for essentially an ending of this investigation, had he turned over those documents, we would not be here today. we would be evaluating those documents. but until we evaluate documents that tell us that we can bring a close either to contempt or to the entire investigation, we can't assume that. and, of course, as you know -- or hopefully the ranking member would explain -- there was no log or no actual documentation showing what they intended to present. so i did go into that meeting yesterday with full intent that we would likely post upon based on something being produced -- postpone based on something
being produced. nothing was produced. i said in the news conference yesterday that i would wait all night. and we did have people here all night in hopes that those documents would arrive and that we would then postpone while we evaluated the documents. the gentle lady may resume. >> mr. chairman, assuming no executive privilege had been invoked and that we had only the offer to give the documents , if the chairman would consider, after receiving the documents, continued discussions and negotiations, wouldn't that have been the way to resolve this matter? >> if the gentle lady will yield, if we were being offered in return for a postponement documents and then we could judge them, both the majority and minority, and then re-enter negotiations as appropriate, we wouldn't be here today. >> mr. chairman, i believe that in light of that, that some
clarification on what the offer expected and what in fact occurred is in order, rather than proceeding to the contempt vote. >> would the gentle lady yield? >> yes, sir. >> and would the chairman give me -- since you were trying to explain that, may i have a little bit more time? all right. and i said this before. the attorney general did not ask for the ending of the investigation. what he was trying to do -- and he spent quite a bit of the little 20 minutes that we had together saying that he had limited personnel, and his personnel were being tied up in going through these millions of emails and documents and whatever, and he basically said at some point he just wanted to see if we could move towards bringing the contempt situation to a conclusion or moving towards it.
and that's what he, as i understand it, what he was asking for. he understood well that the investigation was going to go on, because we've got a lot to investigate. but he did not -- he talked about the contempt, and that was my understanding to the gentle lady. >> you can see, mr. chairman, finally, that there is a dispute even on what went on in the room, and i think it merits a continuing discussion with the justice department. >> if the gentle lady would further yield. i trust that the justice department is hearing my interpretation. if they want to deliver documents, they're welcome to. but, again -- >> but, of course, if a contempt is voted already, then, of course, we've ended that possibility. and since the justice department is now hearing a
difference in -- between two people who were at the same meeting, it does seem to me that it calls for some opportunity for the justice department to come forward and resolve that dispute between the two major figures who were in the deliberations, and i would ask that that be considered. >> i appreciate the gentle lady, if you would further yield. >> i'll be glad to yield. >> just sort of going back to something you said. in the document which was sent from the attorney general this morning and is now part of the record, i want to read the last few words. "while we are deeply disappointed that the committee intends to move forward with a contempt citation, i'd stress that the department remains willing to work towards a mutually satisfactory resolution of this matter. please do not resttate to call
or contact us." thank you very much for yielding. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. the gentleman from utah seeks recognition. >> i move to strike the last world. >> the gentlemen is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the beauty and miracle that is the united states of america is that there is no one person in this country that's above the law. i believe this committee has a duty, obligation and a right to investigate this matter to its fullest effect. i'd harken back to the words of president obama in his first full day in office. i'd like to read. "let me say transparency will be the touchstone. i will also hold myself to a new standard of openness. the mayor of fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret -- the mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does not mean you should.
the president issued a memorandum to the head of the executive departments. the government should not keep information confidential because public officials may be embarrassed. these might be revealed or because of speculative or abstract fares. the president then said there may be a situation in which a serious mistake was made. but that is the case to hold somebody accountable. that has that happened. on february 4, congress was sent a letter that was false. it took 10 months for that information to be withdrawn. the president is issuing executive privilege. we have not seen this.
this was signed by 31 democrats sent to the president of the united states. i'm going to read a couple of excerpts. it is troubling that the department of justice has withheld information from congressional inquiries. later it said "what the department of justice can and should continue investigation, they should not cattell congress from filling its oversight duty -- curtail congress from fulfilling its oversight duty." none of this has happened. it is sad. it is disappointing. it should not have come to this. this is not about eric holder. it is about the department of
justice. have the guts and the oppressor of parents to get to the bottom of this. we have nearly 2000 weapons purposely given to drug cartels. we have hundreds of dead people in mexico. we have a dead border patrol agents. we have a government that is withholding information so that we can fix this and make sure it never happens again. something is fundamentally wrong. it is not about 140,000 documents that the department of justice knows they have. it is not about those numbers. it is the fact that we do not have all of them. many have someone like the director of the atf say it is very frustrating to all of them.
they're trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees. these are things we should be concerned about. no one wants to but this to conclusion more to this and chairthan chairman issa. when these problems cannot comment they dealt with them. we have not gotten to the bottom of this. we have a duty and moral obligation to get to the bottom of this. the department of justice to provide these documents. it is thought about eric holder. it is about the department of justice. -- it is not about eric holder. it is about the department of
justice. >> we now recognize the gentleman from new york. >> thank you par. i am troubled about how we're going about this appeared as a former chairman, i am deeply disturbed that this committee is a continuance to pursue the unprecedented cause of holding the sitting attorney general in contempt of congress. you complain they content is warranted because they have refused to turn over documents. the majority claims without
merit. this is a situation where the attorney general was not responding. let me say one other thing. in all of my 30 years of being in the united states congress, the way he was treated testifying before this committee i have never seen anybody treated in that fashion. i do not understand why we have to move in this order if they are cooperating. if they're not cooperating, maybe we can understand what you're doing. i think this is a mistake. i really think this should be discontinued. let's see if we can continue to get the information that he is
willing to sit down and provide. i do not understand why we have to move in this fashion. it is a discredit to this committee. this committee has a full name of oversight and government reform. i do not see reforming anything. i do not get the point. it does not make sense to me. it is the most ridiculous thing that i think i have seen in the years of being on this committee. i yield to the gentlemen from new york. >> i like to be associated with these comments. be a demonstration and the attorney general have made an honor to continue discussions. i believe they should move forward in the. of getting some type of conclusion and the information
you need any solutions moving forward. he says i stress that the department remains willing to work toward a mutually satisfactory resolution of this matter. why can we work together? i would like to publicly thank chairman mica for working across the aisle on the bill. of late as can afford in a bipartisan way. i think we should work across the aisle on getting this resolved in a way that satisfies the chairman. we should follow up. i think this offer reinforces the point that my good friend
was making that the justice department has opened toward working toward some type of conclusion. we have never ventured a cabinet officer. i think there was one on some epa officials. ecotage probably remember. never a cabinet officer are the highest-ranking member of law enforcement for our country. i feel that this is an area that we could work together in a positive way. i yield back to the gentleman from the great state of new york. >> i think this is a great statement. i hope you would consider it. >> they have informed me that this committee did of votes on the holding janet in contempt.
the store only of looking for the documents. where are the document? >> i yield back. >> i asked that the gentlemen have additional 30 seconds to yield. >> even it gingrich would not hold a content of vote on the floor of the united states congress against janet reno. >> who else seeks recognition that the gentleman from florida. >> this is a sad day. as it has been talked about, we have guns that went to mexico. at the same time you had mexican officials so concerns but all the weapons that are going to
mexico. we ended up with a border patrol agent that we shot and killed by guns from the united states going to mexico. it is the duty of this committee to get to the bottom of this. it is clear that those do not want to get to the bottom of this. they use legalese to try to avoid turning over the documents that will help bring closure to a family who lost a family member. it is our responsibility.
the other side is making an argument about getting to the bottom of this. it cannot go to this conclusion on the other side does not want to turn over the information. if they wanted to turn over the documents, they would have done so. this would be about what do we do in the future. justice department continuing to withhold this information. i know this is a very narrow scope markup. there are a lot of troubling signs and this. we have an opportunity on october 27 with secretary clinton.
we are required to require this to account for their intent to cause these to be exported. and as secretary clinton on this day did the state department " issue the justice department in license or a written waiver in order to allow for the transfer of thousands of weapons across the u.s./mexico border." the response was from secretary clinton, "this is the first time i have been asked to this. i can tell you based on the record of any activity by the bureau that would have been responsible we see no evidence but let me check."
secretary clinton point out that in a herd of parliament they were not asked for a written waiver. that is in violation of the law. as is committee moves forward we need to make sure that we get to the bottom of this. the state department notowledges that dathey were asking for this waiver. we owe it to the people of this country to get to the bottom of this.
i am with you on this. >> i think the gentleman from yielding. a lot to point out we were there. i asked the attorney general if he was willing to sit down that people were not involved. as would to be willing to sit with us. he said i'm done during this period he said i have no intention of further talking to you. savage that is partly why we are here. >> who else 6 recognition? >> at the risk of stating the
obvious, they have taken is proceeding into a whole new realm. congress has the constitutional right to require the production of records. when you have a conflict between the legislative branch and the executive branch those conflicts generally go to the courts. it seems to me that before this committee would take any actions on content we would first
appropriately have to apply to the court to order the production of the record. i want to ask the chairman in the interest of avoiding an untimely collision if the chairman is prepared to seek a court order for the production of the records. >> if the gentleman is asking if we want to the court to request to subpoena? >> no. would you -- are you prepared to
challenge that in court? ari prepared to proceed with a contempt citation of when the issue as not really been resolved? >> we're currently evaluating and trying to get from the white house a lot of the actual assertion. a letter saying the president has done is not sufficient. we're working with house counsel and attempting to work with the white house to get that. illustrative.a lesse
he continued to have the executive privilege after it was voted successfully out of the house. there is a precedent of every member on that pile that was here. we're trying to of by you in with the president might assert executive privilege if he has asserted it. been asserted, only a letter writing that is why we're going forward. it is our intent is the president has a lot of what is not to be produced because categories specifically were
what the authority of the committee is. the point is whether a not you would be willing to postpone any action on the content citation to give the white house a chance to produce the log that you are asking for and then determine or whether or not it would be most appropriate to apply to a court of jurisdiction that would give you the chance to challenge the white house's position or proceed with contempt. it seems it would be a shame to produce titanic contest between the two branches of government if there is a way to try and make one more effort. >> i take note of the comments. >> i appreciate the delivery of
efforts to have made. we met with mexican law enforcement officials. there is a time that it delivered a body needs to continue our efforts for oversight. as well as government reform. this is all we are doing. this is no excitement or joy. i am a dedicated law-enforcement officer and son of a grieving the other. they deserve our full list effort to know the truth and not what our office of the attorney
general calls involving two. the attorney general has stated the department of justice has work to accommodate the legitimate oversight needs. the attorney general believes he is the arbiter of the committee's "legitimate oversight needs." the attorney general's position that the department of justice to says which ones we need is contrary to the constitution and a century of case law. the evolving true cause an an impact. they have repeated this time and time again in the past week.
you probably guess to the attorney general's proposed to make it into the fare compilation. contrary to what the attorney general seems to think comply with the subpoena is not optional. the fear to produce documents is a violation of federal law. he gives us access to all the documents covered by the subpoena. it is not fair to say what we do not know. the committee has gone to great lengths to accommodate the department interest as an
agency of the executive branch. we agreed to a few doments in camera. we have accepted redacted documents. we have done a voluntary interviews and said depositions. we have prioritized the scope of the subpoena among other things. the department has not even cited any legal authority as the basis for withholding documents. nor has it asserted any privilege over the documents. it seems we are out of options. the attorney general has not produced one single document since it was announced.
this reflects the low level of commitment the attorney general as a cooperating with this committee. i urge colleagues to join me today and voting in favor of the content resolution unless and until something more positive and concrete is brought before us. this is not what we should be forced into considering. this is the what i believe any member wants to see this come to. this has been brought about by the actions and inactions of an attorney general and his office been caring on evolving truce. i yield back.
>> does anyone else seek recognition? >> i thank the gentleman for yielding four. a clarification. i want to make sure that the attorney general and his offer last time it was an effort to fully satisfy the committee's last outstanding information requests. i ask unanimous consent to place in the record that were made on this matter. i would agree to put this in the record as soon as it arrives.
>> this is something that the committee should do. it is painful to watch it turn into a partisan political theater. we made a promise that we will identify a what went wrong. we will make sure does not happen again. we have gone a long way in that to define what will it wrong. some early patients have gone on this. they showed that the gun walking began in the phoenix field division in 2006. they did not know that this used until 2011. as a they be allowed to testify.
apparently he was briefed on that matter. there other people acting authorities that would testify that this administration has not been informed. this committee issued a subpoena that one of information that was able for them to share. the wonder of information that is prohibited by disclosure. things were prohibited by the attorney general to turn over. they wanted documents related to criminal investigations that would jeopardize those prosecutions. they wanted detailed information. it to endanger the lives of their family.
they recognize that this was contrary to the rule of law. now we look at what is left. this is how they came to learn. this is why they laid it. nothing in this remaining one had anything but how they will be reforms. we promise them reform. when we tried to do this there was an effort made to question witnesses about trafficking. told the agents not to answer those questions. by ehud be considered by
testimony. this is an injustice to the committee's work. this was a narrow set of new objects that this committee is having from the general. he said he will provide those. but there is a duty to accommodate those. since they have been moved it could be aand accommodation made. i would hope that we would get back to a little sense of what this committee is about. they had this committee do the rest of the job. we know what happened appeared
less to the reform part and make sure it did not happen again. >> i would ask unanimous consent to have an additional 30 seconds. pursuant to the statement that he referred to about michael it has been retracted by eric holder were he said his predecessors have been briefed about gun walking in operation wide receiving. now the department is retracting. >> adobe wonderful if we presented him as a witness. this was to find out what it really was. there should be no reason why shut the able to testify.
we just want the people to testify. moving on in nine what happened was to the rest of the job. do you see a recognition? >> we're here because eric holder has dealt to meet his obligations pursuant to the subpoena issued to him by this committee. we promise that we would get to the bottom of this matter in order to make sure this type of operation never occurs again. many republicans and democrats demanded to know the answers about this a year ago when all of this started. what started as a pursuit of
fax has turned -- facts has turned into a slow crawl of evidence. internally they have 80,000 documents. they turned over to our committees 7000. i have no doubt that they subpoenaed documents they would not wait for those documents to be pursued. in the u.s. attorney would allow someone to review their own documents and tell them what they think is relevant. i will just briefed the attorney on what the documents might include abov. yesterday he admitted he had additional documents consistent with our requests. instead of turning them over he tried to use them as a bargaining chip.
what is in these documents that is so self incriminating that it will not release them. we have not had a request for executive privilege. it has been asserted that they are requesting an executive privilege. we assumed the executive privilege request only embosses communication deliberation. prior to today we are not aware that he was engaged in response to the actions after the february 4. but december the 10th brian terry was killed.
congress said the allegation they allowed or transferred in this. atf makes every effort to have weapons that were there illegally. we now know that multiple people were involved in the drafting of this letter. we know that their statement was false. march 22 the president spoke to univision. he said there may be a situation where serious mistakes were made. if that is the mistake we will hold someone accountable. made the second, doj stated that atf's operation did not knowingly prevent them from taking guns into mexico. the next month the president had
mistakes. then he told congress is not permit these. the deputy attorney claimed they contained inaccuracies. we need to answer the following questions. who authorized this action? who's in charge of the oversight? why were they allowed to continue? when the department of justice refuses to provide the answers, the house is forced to collect them. this committee was united to get their to walk through the process of atf. now that it is with the doj, they say not atf was ok to a investigated coition not investigate inaccurate statements. why is this important? truth and veracity is essential.
the doj is currently in an investigation dealing with security leaks. they will release a report that we have to trust is accurate. we need this information. we have to get it out to get a full accounting of what has occurred and when it occurred in by home we can hold people into account. >> the gentleman from missouri is recognized. >> those of us to serve on this committee can get pretty passionate about our responsibilities. we take our duties seriously.
we can become so focused on what we originally wanted that we can live side of the point of our inquiry. we've all experienced how our staff will be overzealous in their attempts to help us to the jobs. one may take the time to investigate an allegation and we spend money examining the issue, and naturally we want to see results. we often feel the need to show that we are not wasting our time or the taxpayers' resources. it is not about sticking to the plan a matter how badly goes wrong. successful leaders reevaluate.
they recognize when it is time to change course and tie it to up a theory. i was encouraged when the majority correctly insignificantly narrows the scope of the documents they demanded of the justice department. it would have been a legal for the department to have wiretap investigations. when one starts out with the presumption of guilt of a cover- up has a majority did it is extremely difficult to limit when one is proven. how this began with the presumption into the part of the attorney general.
not because of any evidence of wrongdoing or any fax that would warrant such an aggressive and partisan investigation. the majority came into this congress accusing the president of being the most corrupt presidents in history. they majestically promised seven invested gorey hearings a week. they predicted scandal after scandal would be uncovered and examined and confirmed. one by one the majority held hearings on the scandals. one by one of the scandals turned out to be anything but that. grants are not politicized. regulations were not job killing.
this was not a rogue agency. the administration really is for the all of the above energy policy. the one scandal that seemed to take hold in the press that is favorable to the majority was fast and furious. the majority tried to create the scandal there are looking for. they put all of their scandals and to making the smoking gun that would prove the initial charge of the most corrupt presidents. in hearing after hearing they learned the operation would begin in the bushes to ministration. attorney general holder in did it. we learned they were not
withholding documents. they were properly safeguarding the documents according to the law. we have learned and some of the wrongdoing of the corruption that the majority had promised to deliver it there was nothing of the sort on the part of the attorney general. after being brought down this blind alley, we come to a decision. will the majority except that they were wrong? will they reevaluate how they will lead this committee? this was a good first step. by erik this committee to continue the revaluation of what turned out to be not a scandal and not a cover-up. i urge my colleagues to reject this citation. >> thank you.
who else seeks recognition? i thank you for your efforts to really do due diligence and get this to the point where officials are not held responsible for the tactics used in this flawed operation. no one has been held accountable. it is with disappointments and with gravity that this committee sits here. i sit here to hold someone accountable for what is happening. i would like to read out the web site. "our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to the taxpayers. taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their
government. we will work tirelessly to deliver the facts to the american people and to bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. that is what we are charged to do." this department of justice has failed to provide this committee with the information and with the documents that we need to be accountable to the american people. my district as thousands of miles away. the people in my district asked over and over who is responsible for this lot operation. we know this answer to the american people. that is what this committee is charged to do. the family sat in this very room. we pledged we would hold someone
accountable. throughout this investigation the actions have been reprehensible. he is not taken responsibility for the roles. if you want it to provide the requested documents he would have done so already. they must take responsibility for the good and the bad. they seek to find to irresponsible for the death of a border patrol agents. the lack of transparency is
sickening. this morning's threat of asserting executive privilege to maintain the value of secrecy is even more sickening. our mission is to shed light so the american people know what their government is doing. my concern is what is being withheld from us? why is the department of justice stonewalling this investigation? i want to know what he is hiding. most importantly, the family of brian terry deserve those answers. >> i think this is a sad moment
was thoroughly examined. the conscious and deliberate effort has been made to make sure such as money is not ever heard. nowhere have we had a hearing on whether or not our gun laws are sufficient at the southern part of our border to address the overwhelming flow of weapons from the united states to mexico. when we asked what is the one thing our country can do to help
you, we were surprised by the answer. reinstates the assault weapons ban. if your intent is to make sure substantively we do not ever talk about guns in that sense, then you want a witness who dares to go astray in response to a question in saying that we need tougher gun control. we need stronger consequences when those consequences are violated. we never had a hearing about this. atf has to not have a permanent director in six years. political obstruction in the other body. they do not want tough gun enforcement.
this is all about a rogue attorney general. they need to be reined in. need to be meted out to the first time ever for a man who is otherwise seem as an honorable man who was put himself into this job and finding all kinds of things from voter suppression to the drug cartels and the south. to tarnish his reputation. that is how we get to the president of the united states. you can give the public for the content in which his body is held when we behave this way, we could have behaved so much differently and gotten so much more done on a bipartisan basis.
>> the gentleman yield back. who else seeks recognition? >> i appreciate the sentiments from the man from virginia. clears the banking bureau about the death of a board -- there is nothing a kangaroo about the death of a border agent. i take this responsibility very seriously. i am looking at the facts. we know that gun walking occurred. we know that an agent or shot and killed and left to bleed out
in a desert. reno that they originally denied that this begun walking occurred. we begin to see certain agents, the whistle-blowers. they're so concerned about misinformation that is being given to the public and those who are there with their superiors. right wing one was denied the communication police saw. he only came so he would have the ability to have the capacity to be able to ask for answers to the very legitimate questions he was asking.
i am concerned because some of the other things we found out was rather than thorough investigation into the concept of what may have occurred at the atf, what we have seen is evidence of intimidation of those things. i have information in my hands. some of these are being denied a document by the attorney general. the former u.s. attorney resigned less than under pressure. he is reported to have leaked to the documents. the purpose of which show the whistle-blower. instead of looking we see intimidation.
we see the individual who was the assistant united states attorney who is charged with irresponsibility of doing an internal investigation who passed to invoke his fifth. he was chief instructed that he would invoke. there is a series of very legitimate questions to be asked. what we do know is that there is knowledge of these tactics at the highest level. there was a letter that was sent to the department of justice when a request was made about this information. they were participating in a letter of denial that gun walking occurred at all. we know that this goes to the highest levels. trust me when i say the head of
the criminal division is at the highest level. what we do know is that we have had a reversal in which the same department of justice now identifies that as fatally flawed. if it was fatally flawed who knew what and when did they know it? these are legitimate questions to be asking in a time in which you see the testimony. he believes what he is happening for those officials have been appointed editor trying to lay this off on other people further down the chain. it is our responsibility. the facts are leading us to bury the to limit increase.
under what circumstances to people approved it? this will be contained in an affidavit of probable cause that has to be afforded to the department of justice as a matter of policy. they may be able to oversee its for conformity. explicit detail of what is going on. we see this red herring that occurs in which suggesting that somehow this happened and a former administration. prosecution still not. this is the essence of the discretion that was used to deny this very process. this administration sends an atthe atf a prosecutor to help them open this case. they send messages that this is indoors.
this is the essence of what we have to get to the bottom up. i i urge that my colleagues do not be afraid to ask the important questions on behalf of the united states of america and agent terry. >> we now recognize the gentleman. >> these hearings started in response to brian terry. i think all of us continue to offer our condolences and to all of the colleagues in uniform to protect our borders in all of our agencies. that really was the impetus for these investigations. i certainly could have been one of the 31 democrats who signed that letter to ask the white house to cooperate with this investigation and the forthcoming with any evidence
that helped us get to the truth. law over the course of these hearings that seriousness of purpose has been lost. it has now morton to a more selective and partisan, a more media seeking process. what we are talking about now is and this last and duration of content citation -- we complain or at least a majority claims we are seeking documents surrounding the false letter that has been referred to by the gentleman of pennsylvania who have spoken about this as well. the this letter that went out in february 2011 was false. it denied the fact that by the
phoenix office of the atf -- initially by the justice department. if we are going after those documents around the original the nile, they came up with evidence that an drafting that letter, great reliance was made on the statements of the phoenix office of the atf. in that is where the statements came from. he the phoenix office of the atf said, we are not doing any gun walking. they give that to the department of justice. you would think if we were pursuing the truth we might call the people from the phoenix
office before this committee and have them answer to why they gave that false information. here is where the selective -- i would say the willful decision to ignore or the facts lead it. that is where they come into play. we have never asked the former head of the atf who was part of this decision -- we have never asked them to come to this committee. i think the reason is an his eternal testimony with investigators he has already said he never informed the department of justice seen nearest to him regarding gun walking because he was unaware of it himself. the information he would be providing of brought before this committee would be exonerating to the attorney general.
we did not bring him forward. we did not want to hear the facts or the truth. it would get in the way of going after attorney general holders so we never asked him to come. this is getting away from a search for the true with -- to search for the truth. similarly, we know from our investigation there was a prior program called wide receiver where under the bush administration people were gun walking, weapons into mexico. we do not want to know about that because that would get into the way of our constitution and our against eric holder. if we brought michael casey who was briefed on the gun walking operation and who was an office when the gun walking began,
that would deflect the incrimination against the current sitting attorney general. this process has been very selective, very partisan. what we started out we had 31 democrats asking the white house and the department of justice to cooperate and bring forward the truth. what we have seen is that long after that request was made, this has been made a political issue. this has been really caught forward to disgrace. it has been done in a way that has ignored the facts. it has really been a miscarriage of what this committee is supposed to be all about in finding the truth. i am greatly disappointed about
how this has gone on. there are remaining problems -- questions to be asked. we have refused to bring them before this committee. the previous attorney general and the head of the atf or the false and for missing came from, we are not asking them questions. >> would the gentleman yield? >> you were not in the room when we quoted the attorney general has retracted his statement having actually been briefed. that is no longer accurately asserted. >> i will yield. >> the chairman brought that up earlier. the acting assistant attorney general. what was attractive was an assertion that he had been
briefed on fast and furious, i ask unanimous consent the materials. >> just to clarify, the earlier program was involving gun walking. i stand by my statement. keep was informed about the earlier program. it happened. we do not want to ask him about what went on at that point. we do not want to bring back cannot nelson who led to the false information being supplied to senator grassley. that is my point. >> we now recognize the gentleman from ohio. would you feel to me for 30 seconds? >> i would be happy to yield. >> we have conducted 24 interviews including two days with the former attorney.
those interviews are exhaustive it. we have interviewed all of the people made available to us at the local level. not every interview -- 24 of them are corporate -- appropriate to have. i appreciate the gentleman's statement. if he will take the time to read those interviews of those other individuals, you will discover we left no turn on stoned. -- no stone unturned. i think the gentleman from ohio for yielding. >> could work on the committee. it has been that we ignore the facts. how can you ignore the facts when you do not get the facts. how can you reach a conclusion when you cannot get the information you need to make a
decision. that is what this is all about. i am not one who has called for the generalization. we want the documents requested a months ago. we get an executive privilege asserted by the white house. my understanding is executive privilege -- this is between senior staff and the president himself. we had the attorney-general and ask them if he communicated about this issue, he said he had not. something has to give here. is there what he said was not the case or if it was the case the president -- something has to give it. we now know that fast and furious was not confined to the department of justice but nablus to the white house. if the attorney general was telling the truth then we continue to get stonewalling and
we do not get to the facts we need to make a decision and reach a conclusion. i appreciate what you are doing. i think we are right on target with this. we can make a decision and reach a conclusion on this matter. with that i would be happy to yield to my colleagues. >> i just want to make a point to my colleagues that has been brought up. if you go to page 16 and looked through -- items no. 1, number two, no. 4, no. 5. it is not specific to just fast and furious. it says all documents referring or relating to instances prior to the barry for a or the bureau of firearms and explosives that have been purchased or transferred. no. 5, the same thing. i think we have asked for this and done this in a bipartisan way. i want to make that point.
>> the gentleman yields back. who else seeks recognition. >> thank you. i understand you want to know -- it is fair to ask these questions, but it is fair to motivations when we are doing something of historical precedents like this. you are curious. your curiosity seems to end at the beginning of the obama administration. it is curious to me. these are fair questions that should have been brought out before this committee. let's have the former attorney general here and ask those questions. this is not a small thing you are doing or you may be angry and want to do this stuff. this is something this country may have not done. it is fair to ask what happened prior to this. who knew what under previous
administrations? where are those guns now that took place? that does not bring back anyone else but lets us know your reasons for doing this or to sort out what is truth and what we care about here. a wide receiver in fast and furious cannot be understated. both operations were widely misguided. independent investigations must continue. those responsible must be held accountable. it has nothing to do with those investigations. the tragic death demands justice and accountability. this has nothing to do with that process. worse yet the actions read the fine hypocrisy. if in the and again walking is about safety of agents and people who live on both sides of the border, it is a about gun safety. i will meet you any time and
talk about that. facts.emember a few in arizona today you can buy as many ak-47s as you want, not handguns or guns needed to go hunting or to protect your home or business. you can buy as many as you want and pass them on to the cartel's through stock purchases as occurred thousands of times a year putting agents at risk. we know it is documented. a vast majority of guns comes from the united states. the punishment for transactions, the straw purchases was described here as an agent equivalent to a moving violation. we have two types of gun walking both horribly wrong and dangerous about 2000 occurred under these fast and furious and
wide receiver. led to extraordinary tragedy that should have never been repeated a again. let's keep perspective. we are talking about hundreds of thousands of guns. from today on if you do not want this to wreak -- be repeated are happening now as we speak. in that many states there is a gun show loophole. people can buy any kind of gun the want without a background check despite the fact the vast majority of americans think everybody should have a background check. you can have dangerous people who are mentally ill, felons, terrorists, by whatever the want and including people who use guns and make 100% profit selling them through straw
purchasers to the cartel. what is especially troubling is you all have fought attempts to end that process. if this is about agent terry. if this is about safety and defending their honor and preventing this from happening again, hundreds of thousands that have already taking place and will continue to take place putting those people at risk, let's have a perspective here. it is fair to recognize that. what is our motivation today? there cannot be anything worse they have done then the fast and furious and wide receivers. we need to get to the bottom of that. do not try to argue and make the point that you are there to protect the agent's safety of the vast majorities are on the other side continuing to go on and we do nothing to do this.
some mentioned we need guts to do the right thing. we needed to have guts -- i hope we have it to do the right thing. in chicago a young man a couple of years ago stepped in front of a bullet to protect his friend it. he had more guts than we do. thank you. >> the chairman yields back. who else seeks recognition -- the gentleman from arizona. >> first of all, thank you. being the only member on this committee i find many of the comments and justification's against this in this tasteful and more particularly to those of arizona. also those in northern mexico who will be living with consequences of these actions from here forward. if it were my way i would think
we would have a vote on facts and findings so each one of us would actually have to vote on what we find within a judicial system. finding eric holder jr. content in congress is long overdue but will come days. as i explained, mr. holder has shown his contempt. we should hold him in contempt of congress. 115 members agree americans lack confidence in his department. the people of california, new mexico, and texas who deal with unsecured borders on a regular basis now must also live in fear of these firearms. citizens the surf contempt charges to begin because it is with content for their safety these charges were carried out. what is most discouraging is
failedwho's job it is the american people so badly. we are dealing with the department of justice, the lawyers who took an oath to withhold the constitution. sending congress a false letter, these lawyers brought a great chance to the profession. i am convinced it is the only way to send a strong message. nobody is above the law including the top law- enforcement officer. i continue to believe eric holder brought this upon himself by refusing to cooperate with congress. i believe the contempt charges are the way to go forward. we all deserve better. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i would announce to all members it is the intent of the chair to take a recess upon conclusion of all striking of the last word.
with that as anybody seek recognition? the gentleman from illinois is recognized for five minutes. >> i think it is most them rigid unfortunate the deliberations of this committee have reached such a partisan level. i have always been told where there is righteousness in the heart there is beauty in the character. i have been led to believe that the constitution requires the executive branch and congress to accommodate the interests of the other to avoid unnecessary conflicts. the framers of our democracy and expected -- i " -- were conflicts are rose between the coordinated branches, a spirit of dynamic compromise would promote revolution of the
dispute in a matter likely to result in the efficient and effective functioning of our governmental system. attorney general william french smith that served under president reagan said, accommodation required is not simply an exchange of concessions or a test of political strengths. it is an obligation of each branch to make principal the efforts to acknowledge and if possible to meet the legitimate needs of the other branch. our committee has failed its constitutional duty to accommodate throughout this investigation. for more than one year the committee has been holding the attorney general to an impossible standard by demanding documents he is prohibited by law from producing. such as documents involving
federal wiretaps and a grand jury materials. the committee has demanded documents pertaining to ongoing criminal and best legations and prosecutions. the department explained would endanger the lives of confidential informants and jeopardize active criminal cases. former assistant attorney general explained these documents have been steadfastly protected by democratic and republican administrations alike since the 19th century. late last friday night the chairman, finally made his first step at accommodation by revising the contempt citations to drop these are to responsible demands. then in the late hour the chairman and shifted the focus of his demands to ask for
documents that show whether departmental's denials about gun walking or part of a broader effort by the department to obstruct a congressional investigation. in contrast during the course of the investigation the department of justice has made efforts to accommodate this a legitimate oversight interest. it has provided the committee with thousands of documents. the attorney general has testified before congress regarding fast and furious a total of nine times. as the investigation progress department leadership realized their initial denials, they were based on faulty information. they receive from atf and the
attorney's office. at that point the department not only acknowledged and withdrew the letter, but provided 1300 pages of internal delivered to the documents that show how the initially drafted letter was drafted. those show the officials and the department headquarters had no intent to mislead congress. despite the evidence the chairman continues to accuse department officials of obstructing the investigation and seeks additional documents as part of a expedition to support this unsubstantiated allegation. these allegations have continued only without regard to what evidence or information is provided by the justice
department. i hope that the american people will see this as a witch hunt as political activity. and not the legitimate interests of getting to the truth. i yield back the balance of my time. >> does anyone else seek recognition? the gentleman from tennessee. >> thank you. thank you for bringing us here today. for your diligence in pursuing this important matter. i truly regret this has gone to this point. the actions of the justice department has left us with no other choice. this is far from political theater. this is investigation into an operation that was so flawed it flew right into the face of common sense. there are many people on both
sides of the aisle that would agree one person -- any person in the chain of command should have stopped this operation to put the lives of law- enforcement officials in harm's way. the attorney general who is not above the law. we were originally told this decision was made by local officials. it did not take long that we learned there was a significant information by officials in washington about the execution of this operation. with the president's recent executive privilege letter, it appears that it may go into the white house. this is what attorney general's holder's team calls the evolving truth. as a troublesome comment. the obama administration and the justice department cannot
continue to stonewall the committee any longer. the american people want answers. agent terry's family deserves answers. this is all occurring because it is an election year. i do not think agent terry's family cares it is an election year. i do not think family of over 200 slain families care it is an election year. is past time for the attorney general to produce the documents. i make clear we have given the attorney collateral ample opportunity to present the facts surrounding fast and furious if the department has refused to cooperate. i am a freshmen in congress. when i came here i did not know that if you drop the bill and wanted to get it passed the hat to be done during the congress. if it is not done by the end of the year it goes away and start over. the same holds true for what we are trying to bring to life. i do not think that is on the
attorney general's office. stars to some like they're trying to run out the clock. mr. chairman, i think the contempt report before us is accurate. i urge my colleagues to hold the attorney's office accountable. i yield back. >> thank you. a couple of things to begin with. number one, the attorney general or any other subject to a subpoena cannot demand to have an agreement in exchange for a legitimate request from the committee. i think all of us probably agree with you on that. there were two different versions that were discussed -- how that meeting went. mr. cummings is a different understanding of it -- >> with the gentleman yield very quickly? >> all he is referring to is
trying to have a good-faith effort to resolve the subpoena issue only. >> that would seem fair to me but i would respect the chairman for a standing up for committee prerogatives. i agree with the chairman that we do owe it to the family to get to the bottom of this. this is the challenge we always have in congress. everything we do when it ends up on a partisan vote leaves the public with a view. the hope that i would have is that a member of the committee on oversight and government reform the believes in vigorous oversight that the congress should have all the information it needs to make a determination about accountability and howard happened is that we laid the foundation in this committee
that would justify in the minds of most of us on both sides of the aisle. the two questions that trouble me to suggest we have now reached the foundation at least as far as i am concerned is that elements in the investigation that would include -- what happened during the bush administration with the attorney general and the then atf head, it would seem to me very reasonable in pursuit of a full investigation we would want those folks and, ask them what happened and get the complete picture, allow us to have them as part of our investigation. we are not doing that at least to my satisfaction. the second thing is that the initial -- it does demonstrate
what i would say is an over broad approach to get an affirmation. when we started asking for things that a law clearly prohibits the attorney general from turning over, a grand jury transcripts, it says that cannot be turned over. wiretap information. it cannot buy u.s. code be turned over. the subpoena was suggested on friday but friday is only a couple of days ago. we are in a situation now where no matter how we vote on this there are many of us to while we strongly support oversight and strongly support the necessity of this committee having access to information broadly that it meets many of us feel the foundation has not been laid because of my view, an adequate investigation that would go to when this process began and secondly and over broad subpoena
that was just restrain the last friday that this literally asking the ag to turn over documents that legally he is not able to do. that is what i am coming from. there are a lot of us -- and content against any public official who is a we need that foundation in order for this to have credibility among the public. here we go again. thank you. >> i may make note that nothing stopped it fenestration from derivative anddillard o information. a larger these documents are about why the receiver.
they have the e-mails and operational plans. we take note. the genesis appear to come from the same unit with the same bad ideas early on. i think there is no argument on either side. i think any attorney generals would agree. they poorly executed on what would other would be followed the guns. the reason we have removed the goalpost easier to get a feel go is in fact that we have had discovery. we have limited bit. may 18 is when the speaker took the extraordinary measure of narrowing the request in a
letter to the attorney general. he also spoke to the president. last friday what we did as a result of our becoming aware of the details inside a seven wiretaps is that we felt that from a standpoint of content although we still need information about people in the chain, we had narrowed can sense. i am not a lawyer. the vast majority of the material we have not gotten. we totally believe it is not protected because of some compromising of ongoing criminal investigations. to know that we would need a privileged law which we have not received an offer of. >> there has been some narrowing. you adjusted the subpoena after
friday. this was withdrawn. i think it is reasonable. you can get a privilege block. i agree with that. the since i have been maybe able to resolve this if we did the thought i have is we may be able to resolve this -- the thought i had is we may be able to resolve this. i think the way he heard it makes it sound like the attorney general is trying to see if he could make progress. i would support a privilege log. this would be progress for us. i do not know if the committee can have discussions about us doing our work to bring in some
of these people in the bush administration. it will give us peace of mind that we rid doing our job. do we really need to do this today? had some point we may need to. and do not feel like we need to do it today to not take no for an answer when it comes to getting documents that we are entitled to have. >> who else seeks recognition? >> thank you. this is not just an agency within the federal government. they are responsible for safeguarding the fundamental foundation of this republic with respect to the rule of law. this is symbolized by a set a scales.
she does not care about how the decisions help or hurt reelection bids. should this not care about race or socioeconomic status. just the equal application of the law so all citizens can have confidence in the decision she makes. we look at the fax. fast and furious was flawed in its conception and explanation afterward. this is not as was initially the mantra. senior level officials they knew well before he was murdered. they were briefed. they discuss press conference opportunities and the unsealing of indictments.
they traded e-mails. they proved a wiretap applications. the actively discussed a tactic of gun walking. there is a demonstrably false letter being written to a committee that was calculated to mislead. here is the proof. here is the proof that the department of justice know about the tactic of gun walking well before brian terry was murdered. we have hundreds of dead mexican citizens, thousands of weapons with americans fingerprints. we are being asked for more time. please wait.
give it more time. it has been over a year. if congress has time to look into major-league baseball and invite stephen colbert to come to a committee hearing, surely we have time to get answers on a fundamentally calleflawed legal investigation like fast and furious. thus we have a. we embarked on investigation to get answers to fundamental questions that i still cannot answer. who approved this investigation? i cannot give them an investigation. this is part of the answer. it is part of the documents. how did this they're written on the department of justice letterhead and deliver to a united states senator? i cannot tell how the letter got
drafted. month toit take 10 minute withdraw the tax why was the criminal chief of the department of justice in mexico advocating for gun walking tax can anyone answer that question? can you tell me why brewer was in mexico advocating for a tactic that we all acknowledge was flawed? and not only does congress have a right to ask, we have a fundamental duty. our fellow citizens when they get a jury summons, and do you think they have a chance to comply? when they get a subpoena, if you think our fellow citizens get to offer an extraordinary accommodation in lieu of providing the documents?
either congress has the authority to require full compliance are what we have been doing for the past 10 months is abels error. we never should have discussed contempt of congress. i there we have rights are we have no business here. with respect to executive privilege, i'm going to resist the temptation to contrast senator obama's position on executive prison ofprivilege wih president obama's position on privilege. if he did not know about fast and furious before brian terry was murdered. he did not approve of the wiretap applications, what is he exerting privilege for? he is either part of it or he is not. if he is not the only have a series of witnesses.
if he is not, he has no business. i would feel back. >> thank you. helen to continue along the road that my friend from vermont started. i am very concerned about the public perception of what we're proposing to do here today. we have seen throughout this discussion a serious dispute over a lot of the information that the committee and only the committee has seen. we have talked about yesterday's meeting with the attorney general. a difference in perception between the chairman. none of us was there. the public does not have any way of judging what the attorney general was acting for and why
he was willing to do. we talked about the mail some testimony. we think it is a very important element of this entire issue. the fact that he testified before a close interviewed, of the transcript of which is not available to the public, allows those who do not agree to selectively " the transcript in support of their argument and allows us to selectively quote from the transcript to support someone that we do not believe they would be aware of these activities. the public has no way of judging that. i read through these yesterday. i would say that my perception
of what they would comply is far different than my friend from south carolina's perception. nothing was a default position. those that tend to be republicans or have the demonstration will defaults in support of the contempt action. those who support the president are going to default to support up positions. those who are independent are going to say this is another partisan activity. votes for so parson their three republicans that voted. every other one was a partisan
vote. i'm concerned about the impact of this action that has been proposed today on the perception of the public that everything in this body has to be partisan. as my good friend from vermont said, there are those of us that believe in the separation of power in the quality of congress to pursue these avenues of investigation. some of you remember i was on the oversight committee. i wore a button that said article one. i am afraid without the background the public needs to determine whether we are acting with anything but then a partisan fashion. i hate to be in the position of voting for contempt citation but
much of the information is beyond my possession. i would say this endeavor is something that will only enhance partisanship. i would be forced to oppose it when i think i have been equally committed to making sure this body has all the information it needs to carry out the constitutional responsibility. >> the wiretaps and all of the testimony of people like others have very essence of an information. under speech and debate, every one of those documents is available to you. you may use mips as you see fit. i would help the american people would understand there are a plethora of republicans and democrats able to take the
source material and appropriately gleaned from a. it is one of the great challenges. that which comes to us which we should not make public we still have to act on and vote on. this is one of the difficulties. to the talked about some very sensitive information, much of which the public will be happy not to have made public. those who want to go there his testimony will also find arguments on both sides that the committee would appropriately see made public. i want to thank the members. i know we are ending our time. this committee has kept secret everything that should be kept secret. there have been no leaks of sensitive information. tom often we do not think ourselves only do the right
thing. this investigation for the lack of agreement, we have agreed to keep sensitive this. >> if i have any time remaining. >> i ask you have an additional 30 seconds. >> i think the gentleman. i want to clear up the notion that has been raised that the president cannot invoke executive privilege since it was said that there have been no communication with the president under republican and democratic administrations. the executive has often invoked executive privilege with do of a tiff communications. i think the gentleman for its. >> i yield back. >> does anyone else see
recognition? >> accountability. that is what the american people expect, crave. in return for counte accountability, they get forgiveness. they understand that everyone makes mistakes. accountability is one of the keystones of our checks and balances. they hold accountable all levels of the government for the actions they take. today we are here because we have an attorney general who has failed to be accountable for the action that his department has resulted in the death of not only a border patrol agent the countless others in mexico. to the family of brian terry, i wish to say i truly apologize for what has happened to your
son and to your family and what you've had to endure as a result of this. i further apologize that we have an attorney general who has dealt to take responsibility. you cannot delegate responsibility. we have an obligation to find out who is accountable. who is responsible for these actions that could have been there? there is an operation that happened under the bush administration. it is an operation that is totally different. it was started and was stopped once it was found out by president bush. it did have the knowledge of the mexican government. when we send a subpoena to this
administration including the documents macy would also seek the documents -- documents we see, we also said the documents from others. is it because that this demonstration continues to want to hold responsibility the previous administration for this the demonstrations abject behavior? when away going to stop the blame? i will tell you that we are tired of the evolving toward that this trickling from the department of justice. >> i say there is a lot of
discussion this morning about this. bring them all. bring everybody before this committee. bring the information before the committee. bring them all. this is not mitigate this attorney general responsibility with a subpoena. these are two separate issues. what happened? let's get all the information to all of our colleagues and want to blame the bush and ministrations for everything that has gone wrong.
this is a sad day. for someone who worked for the department of justice, i hasten to ask in a divot credit administration, this is a sad day. this is a necessary day. the notion you can withhold information and documents from congress a matter whether you are the party in power are not in power. i think my gentlemen. >> the gentleman yield back. >> thank you. i want to apologize to the american people for yet another show of gotcha politics.
i will associate my comments because i'mwdgady concerned with the gun walking in the fact that this activity went on under both administrations. they had the power to make that decision without running it up the flagpole to the highest officer of law enforcement. there needs to be entire investigation of how the atf operates in this government. s who think theyi can do what they do without prior approval. i am frightened to think what will be going on today had agent
brian terry not been murdered. would we even know about fast and furious and the wide receiver? that is the seminal question we should be asking ourselves. how things can go on in any department in this government in the nature that the wide receiver works. as outrageous as that was. and not have known at the highest levels of government. but also associate myself with mr. quicklgley. gun walking is going on right now. we are continuing to aid and abet the cartels and mexico because we do not have the guts
to do anything about the loopholes that exist in terms of gun ownership. he compared them anywhere you want. >> if you are so insistent, thank you 4. if you are insisting, does he want to see the document? >> we have received 7000 documents. we have them more than willing to negotiate with us for the documents that have nothing to do with the actual with atf and how it got started and how it operates. we're talking about documents,
internal documents between staff members within the justice department after the letter was sent on february 4 that was erroneous pimm to the end of the year when it was recalled by the administration. there was no 20 minutes of a tape that has been wiped out. >> i've already yielded. i'm trying to respond to your question. if what we're talking about is the internal process of how a decision was made to recall that letter and to say we were wrong, fine. that has nothing to do with the facts that agent terry was killed under a program that existed in this country were the highest levels of government didn't know what was going on. this is what we should be discussing. >> this is what i'm trying to
find out. how can you come to a conclusion if he had not seen the documents. >> the documents we are requesting are the documents that were late to what was given by the legislative up there is with in the justice department's that was sent and was erroneous. >> i'm not yielding any longer. i have 52 seconds. >> thank you. let me say this. they agreed to provide this. those documents would go to be allegations that there may have been retaliations against the whistle-blowers. keep in mind that the privilege
that was a search of this morning by the president is not even include that. you agreed to provide a one and agreed toe requests by senator grassley for the description of documents. bar the problem was to do these. the have to go through each document and tell what the document is and why you are withholding it. i think he made a reasonable offer. in that discussion, he constantly said that there are certain traditions that go with the office.
this have been in existence for several years. said he wanted to continue that to work with the chairmen. i do not think for one minute he's trying to hide anything. i think he want to work with us. i would love to see us work with him and get these documents. >> thank you. does anyone seek recognition? >> it was clear to me after the meeting with the majority and minority members that he placed very specific conditions on this committee and is chairman regarding information he would provide in exchange for the conclusion of this inquiry. that is not acceptable for one simple reason. only 7600 documents have been
released. this is very simple. it is about releasing documents that are directly pertaining to those who know about the operation. he was engaged within the justice department in this operation. developmentsy's seeking executive privilege. it does call into question when the white house was engaged in this. i have had the opportunity as recently as monday to review the wiretap applications. as impressed with the level of detail regarding the questionable investigative tactics as a senior department officials were presented with your these applicatis.